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Seedfund Acquires Minority Stake In Fashion E-tailer HandsPick.com

Seedfund, an early-stage venture capital fund with operations in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi, has invested an undisclosed sum to acquire a significant minority stake in HandsPick.com, a fashion apparel and accessories e-commerce brand owned by Delhi-based start-up Intuitent Online Venture Pvt Ltd, co-founder Mahesh Murthy has stated in an e-mail response.

Started in February 2011 by Amarinder Dhaliwal, former vice-president (e-commerce) of Times Internet Ltd (owned by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd), Vijay Misra, former director (brands) at TCNS Clothing Company (it markets the popular women's wear brand W) and Vijesh Sharma, former product head (e-commerce) at TIL, HandsPick claims to retail over 60 brands online, including Lee, Puma, Spykar and Wrangler, among others. Members can also place orders over the phone and opt for trials before the actual purchase. HandsPick has a 30-day return policy and backs a mandatory cash-on-delivery payment mode.

The capital raised would be used for design, manufacturing, sourcing, brand creation, logistics and customer satisfaction assurance, Murthy added.

"While we don't disclose either the exact amount or stakes, we have a significant minority stake in the business and are investing as per our regular norms," Murthy said in an e-mail response.

According to various media reports, HandsPick.com received $2 million from Seedfund, but Murthy said the amount was incorrect .

In December last year, Seedfund invested $5 million in Mumbai-based men's apparel start-up Fetise Retail Pvt Ltd, which runs the site Fetise.com, for an undisclosed minority stake.

In fact, online apparel and accessories retail has become a hotbed of action. Recently, Times Internet Ltd launched a new e-commerce site called hutk.com. Other key players in this space include Smile Group's Fashionandyou.com, Bangalore-based TPS Shopping Outlet Pvt Ltd which runs ThePrivateSales.com and the recently launched Smile Group-backed venture Freecultr, which has also raised VC funding. However, these companies are not traditional e-commerce ventures and specialise in deals and flash sales.

For Seedfund, which raised $54 million for its second fund in 2011, this is another fresh investment. Earlier, it had backed portfolio companies like Pilani Soft Labs Pvt Ltd (it runs the online bus ticketing site RedBus.in) and Vaatsalya Healthcare Solutions Pvt Ltd besides making a new investment in the two-year-old Mumbai-based start-up Nevales Networks which provides network security support services to SMEs on the Cloud.

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