Mumbai-based online B2B fashion marketplace Fashionablyin has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Ranjan Mahtani, chairman of Hong Kong-based apparel supplier Epic Group.
Tent Fashions Pvt Ltd, which runs Fashionablyin, will use the funds to introduce its products to a wider audience and build on existing technology.
Founded by Tarun Thadani, Fashionablyin is an online geo-located fashion directory and marketplace that focuses on bridging the offline-online gap by creating a simple platform where suppliers and customers can trade with one another.
On Fashionablyin, fragmented suppliers can organise themselves and digitise their catalogues, live, on the website. Users can rate and review listed companies through an intuitive ‘#CPQrating’ system based on credibility, price and quality. The beta version of the website is already live, and a new version will be released on January 15, 2016, which will have new features such as friend following and social networking.
The startup claims that 2,000 businesses have already registered with it.
“It is hard to find good and reliable suppliers who are located in different regions, specialising in specific services or products. We wanted to make the search simple and accessible to everyone. We are building a resource base for the fashion industry,” says Thadani.
Established in 1971, the Epic Group is a Hong Kong-based garments manufacturing company that has successfully transitioned from a buying agent to a large multinational company with facilities across Asia. Besides manufacturing, the company also has design studios supervised by industry veterans in Hong Kong and London.
Tarun Thadani is not new to the startup space. Thadani first started FashionGrove.com, a fashion accessories directory, which was expanded into Fashionablyin.com in 2004. In 2003, he had started fashion accessories brand TENT, after dropping out from Bryant University, Rhode Island, USA and a fashion school in Mumbai.
He is also the founder of Voicefriends, a dating/friendship application, which is part of Live24 Communications Pvt Ltd. Voicefriends has received funding from Wockhardt’s Dr Huzaifa Khorakiwala and Berger Paints’ Gurjit Dhingra. In 2011, along with his father and brother, he started KPT Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which holds the licenses for two Mumbai-based restaurants – Sushi and More and Café Nemo. In 2014, he started a blogging platform KEWO with India Book House, but shut this down in 2015 and started Gokewo.com, a domain name marketplace which sells names of businesses with logos and concept notes.
Online B2B marketplaces have recently seen increased investor interest. Industrybuying.com, an online marketplace for industrial goods, in December 2015, received an undisclosed amount in angel funding from family members of the Chennai-based Murugappa and TVS groups.
Mumbai-based startup Centerac eMarketplaces Pvt Ltd that runs an online B2B auction platform for textile sector through XSTOK, has raised $452,000 (Rs 3 crore) from Oliphans Capital and a group of early stage investors.Bangalore- and US-based Sourceeasy Inc, also operates a web platform connecting designers, e-commerce stores and brands to source their private label apparel online.
Bangalore-based Sabonka Tecnologies Pvt Ltd, which runs B2B e-commerce marketplace Shotang.com, has raised $5 million (around Rs 33 crore) in Series A funding from Exfinity Venture Partners and Unitus Impact Livelihoods Fund. Another venture in this space is Tolexo.com. Run by Tolexo Online Pvt Ltd, Tolexo is part of IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd, which runs an online B2B platform for small and medium businesses connecting global buyers with suppliers under the brand IndiaMART. IndiaMART plans to invest Rs 100 crore in Tolexo for its brand building and business operations by March 2016.