Bombay Shaving Company raises $2.5 million from Fireside Ventures and HNIs
New Delhi: Bombay Shaving Company, a male grooming products manufacturer, Tuesday said it has raised $2.5 million from Fireside Ventures and high net-worth individuals (HNIs) including senior executives from McKinsey & Co.
The pre-series A funds will be deployed towards brand building initiatives and introducing new products. Started in 2016, Bombay Shaving Company sells a premium range of shaving products including shaving brushes, razors and foam.
In an interview, founder Shantanu Deshpande said the company will expand the range to men’s soaps, moisturizers and face wash by December. It also plans to introduce, ironically, beard grooming products—oils, conditioner and wax—entering a segment popularized by rival Beardo.
Ahmadabad-based Beardo was recently acquired by packaged goods maker Marico Ltd.
Deshpande, who started the venture with seed investment from ex-colleagues at McKinsey, said he has received interest from large packaged goods companies for a strategic investment, but the company declined them.
The company, instead, went with Fireside Ventures, a fund led by Kanwaljit Singh, a former managing director at Helion Venture Partners, who has over a decade of experience at FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
“We believe the market opportunity is tremendous as men have begun investing in the products they use and the ‘grab and go’ mindset is on the decline. With expansion into more categories and an aggressive sales team, there is enormous potential to build a large, premium brand for men’s products” Singh said in a statement.
Deshpande said that direct-to-consumer brands, such as his own, are better placed in understanding the consumer.
Bombay Shaving Company sells through its own website and top e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm. Its products are also available out Affinity Salon outlets and supermarket chain Le Marche in Delhi and Mumbai.
Even though 95% of its sales happen online, the company will deploy a part of the funds to expand offline through partnership with superstores and saloons. “Shaving products is something consumers buy when they walking into a store and not in a pre-planned fashion, that is why we have to be available offline,” Deshpande said.
“The tie-up with Affinity Salons has allowed for effective trials with target customers while the launch in US has given them instant access to a large market. They are now eyeing offline shelves in India and there are some interesting tie-ups in the pipeline,” said S. Ramadorai, an early investor.