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Exclusive: Fashion e-tailer StalkBuyLove raising fresh capital

Exclusive: Fashion e-tailer StalkBuyLove raising fresh capital
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Delhi-based Ad Victoriam Ventures Pvt. Ltd, which operates fashion e-tailing platform for women StalkBuyLove, is raising around Rs 20.42 crore ($2.96 million) in a fresh round of funding from a clutch of new and existing investors, a person directly in the know told TechCircle.

The new participating investors known at this point in time include Germany-based Blue Dynamic and Hong Kong-based Integrated Asset Management (Asia) Ltd. Existing investors Kalaari Capital, Singularity Ventures, Germany's VCDE Venture Partners and Kabs Ventures have also put in money in this round, the person mentioned above said.

The company, which will raise the sum in multiple tranches, has already secured a little over $1 million, the person added.

E-mail queries sent to Tushar Ahluwalia and Nishrit Shrivastva, co-founders of the venture, seeking more information in this regard, did not elicit a response till the time of filing this report.

The company’s last known major funding round was in late 2016 when it raised around Rs 41 crore ($6 million then) in its Series A funding round led by Kalaari Capital. VCDE Venture Partners, TTM Holding AG, early-stage VC fund Singularity Ventures, Asia Venture Group, Asian E-Commerce Alliance, Kabs Ventures and FabIndia managing director William Bissell had also put in money then.

Subsequently, in April last year, the company had raised $1 million in venture debt from Trifecta Capital, according to media reports.

While the valuation at which the latest funds were raised could not be ascertained, TechCircle estimates that its Series A round was valued at roughly Rs 130-135 crore ($18.9-19.6 million)

StalkBuyLove

StalkBuyLove was founded in 2013 by Rocket Internet executives Ahluwalia, Shrivastva, Aashna Chopra and fashion expert Shikha Ahluwalia. The startup sells curated women's clothing and accessories. The company, which sells only its in-house labels, buys raw materials and creates prototypes based on fashion trends and uploads them on the website.

It owns the entire production process and manufactures once the customer selects a product and orders. Once a new design is out, it is made accessible within the next 10 days, according to information available on the company’s website.

The company raised its first round of funding in March 2016 from 500 Startups, Germany-based venture fund Littlerock, Singularity Ventures and others.

For the financial year 2016-17, the company clocked a two-fold rise in operational revenues at Rs 29.06 crore, up from Rs 13.34 crore. However, gross expenses rose nearly three-fold to Rs 59.91 crore, from Rs 22.50 crore in the previous year. Consequently, losses widened to Rs 33.77 crore from Rs 9.19 crore.

A snapshot of the online fashion landscape

The dynamics of the online fashion space have undergone a significant change over the last five years. Currently, the Flipkart-Myntra-Jabong combine along with Amazon are dominating the sector, with the Flipkart group alone supposedly accounting for nearly 70% of the market share by various estimates.

Over the years, Myntra has also been building its in-house private label business and has seen considerable success with its Roadster Brand. This has made it more challenging for standalone online fashion ventures to operate. Consequently, new-age fashion brands are adopting an omni-channel approach, which involves a mix of both offline and online services. Likewise, traditional brick-and-mortar players have also been exploring online play as one component of their sales distribution channels.

However, the likes of StalkbuyLove operate in a more niche space, catering to private labels solely focused on women. A few other funded players in this space would be India Quotient-backed Fab Alley and Kanwaljit Singh-backed Fable Street which also focus on fashion wear for women.

While the broader online fashion space has not exactly been teeming with investor activity in recent times, it has seen some deals and transactions over the past few months.

Last month, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group announced that it will acquire more than a fourth of fashion e-commerce firm Koovs Plc, as the brick-and-mortar retail conglomerate steps up its investments in online ventures.

In June, fashion e-tailer eShakti, which focuses on the womenswear segment, raised Rs 75 crore ($10.1 million) in fresh funding from private equity firm Paragon Partners.

In March, Mumbai-based online fashion marketplace Fynd, run by Shopsense Technologies Pvt. Ltd, closed its Series C round of funding led by tech giant Google.

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