Mumbai: The Souled Store, a pop culture merchandise brand, has raised $3 million in a fresh round of funding led by RP-SG Ventures, the venture capital fund backed by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, said a senior executive of the fund. The Souled Store, which began operations in 2013, sells a wide range of officially licensed products for fans. Some of its partners include global entities such as Warner Bros, Disney, WWE and Indian brands such as youth icons—stand-up comedians, indie music artists, music festivals and franchises from the Indian Premier League and Pro Kabaddi League.

“We are very impressed with the team’s vision and execution maturity. The growth demonstrated by the brand through exceptional customer engagement on the back of strong unitary economics is outstanding, making it well positioned to become the number one player in this fast growing pop culture segment," said Abhishek Goenka, head of RP-SG Ventures.

He said the fan merchandise market in India is worth around 6,000 crore and is growing at 25-30% each year.

“The Souled Store is a one-stop shop for fan merchandise. They do multiple products such as T-shirts, shorts, badges, phone covers, etc. You don’t have to keep wandering different parts of the net, you can go to this one platform and find the character that you are looking. They work with 100 plus characters," said Goenka.

The company plans to use the capital to bolster its backend and for marketing needs.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve grown at 2-3 times each year and the focus going forward will be to rapidly expand our manufacturing and backend capabilities, introduce a variety of new product lines, enhance our customer experience, and building our offline presence," said Vedang Patel, co-founder of The Souled Store.

RP-SG Ventures is a Sebi registered VC Fund with the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group as its sponsor investor.

It started operations with a 100 crore commitment from the group and will now look to raise capital from external investors, said Goenka.

“We are a 300 crore fund. Half of that will be committed by the group. They have made an initial commitment of 100 crore. We have been receiving several inbound queries. We will raise external capital next year," he said.

RP-SG Ventures focuses on the consumer sector and invests in early-stage companies.

“We look at hardcore FMCG plays such as food and beverage, personal care and others; second is lifestyle goods and services such as the likes of The Souled Store and we are also looking at consumer technology, which is any technology or technology enabled play that makes retail and distribution more efficient," he said. This is the fund’s second investment so far. It had invested $0.5 million earlier this year in True Elements, a healthy clean label brand for breakfast and snacks.

“We will invest in 15-20 companies. We have already done two and there are couple of others that we hope we will close by this fiscal end. Our differentiator is that we have access to the distribution network of the sponsor group and we can help these brands access this network and gain visibility, grow at a faster rate," said Goenka.

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