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Myntra launching fashion incubator to discover new local brands in India

Flipkart, the largest consumer focused e-commerce company in India, which also owns fashion e-tailer Myntra.com, is set to launch a fashion incubator next month in an attempt to gain complete dominance of the fast-growing online apparel category, according to a Times of India report citing Mukesh Bansal, CEO, Myntra & SVP, Flipkart Fashion.

The incubator will select fashion entrepreneurs and give them a platform to retail their products. After six months to a year, the incubator will also pick up equity stakes in the best performing brands for up to a million dollars. Myntra will look to select at least 3-5 such brands annually, which can later be retailed on other platforms as well (both online and offline). The first batch will get on board as many as 20 such entrepreneurs.

Abhishek Verma, business head at Myntra said the company has already roped in mentors that include fashion designers, entrepreneurs and successful names in the apparel industry to be a part of the programme for the first batch of the incubator.

"We want these budding designers to operate as independent entities in the long-term, selling to even our rival e-tailers," said Bansal.

What it means for Myntra?

Myntra plans to open about 20 private label brands in the long term and this initiative is a step to achieve that goal. Besides, it will also give a lot of exclusivity to the portal through the products of some of its incubatee companies. In terms of reach, Myntra has a last-mile delivery network covering 70 cities, while Flipkart's network covers 250 cities and towns.

Myntra's private label Roadster, Dressberry and Anouk are clocking sales of upwards of $10 million, Bansal claims. They plan to set up offline stores to create more awareness about the brands in major metros. The firm has also roped in celebrities to promote the brand. Startups could get considerable branding and marketing support from Myntra's platform. The company claims that its private labels contribute to sales of more than Rs 2,000 crore.

Going forward, the combined entity could also evaluate acquisitions to shore up its fashion portfolio. Lately, Naspers invested $52 million in Flipkart's latest funding round.

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