Until a few years ago, hardly anyone in jewellery-crazy India would have thought of buying the precious items online. But two startups changed the game.
Bluestone and Caratlane not only proved that people do buy costly gold and diamond jewellery online but also attracted funding from marquee investors looking to tap into India's burgeoning e-commerce industry.
Over the past five years, Caratlane has raised about $50 million from Tiger Global while Bluestone secured a little less than half that amount from investors including Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata.
The journey hasn't been easy for them, however. Both made losses while revenue rose at a rapid clip. Now, they are entering a new phase.
Last month, Titan Co Ltd, Tata Group's watch and jewellery retailing firm, struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Caratlane. On Wednesday, the Mint newspaper reported that Bluestone was in talks with some existing investors and venture capital firm Iron Pillar to raise Rs 200 crore (roughly $30 million).
Caratlane seems to have an edge for now. But can Bluestone overtake its main rival with fresh cash? Only time will tell.
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