Plum co-founder Shankar Prasad.
Plum co-founder Shankar Prasad.

Skincare start-up Plum gets funding from Unilever Ventures

The beauty and wellness space in India has seen funding mainly in retailers of these products such as Nykaa and Purplle

Pureplay Skin Sciences (India) Pvt. Ltd, which sells Plum brand of skincare products, has raised a Series A round from Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer giant Unilever, said a senior company executive. Series A round is typically a company’s first significant round of venture capital financing.

“We weren’t looking to raise money initially, but we realized that as the business grew, it needed money" said Shankar Prasad, co-founder Plum. “Unilever Ventures has come on board as a pure financial investor." Prasad, who launched the start-up in 2013 as a bootstrapped venture, however, did not disclose the size of the investment.

The beauty and wellness space in India has seen funding mainly in retailers of these products such as Nykaa and Purplle.

Purplle, which raised funds counts IvyCap Ventures and JSW Ventures as its investors, while Nykaa’s investors include TVS Capital, the Munjal family office and Max Ventures.

Mint reported on 10 October that Nykaa is in talks with Softbank to raise up to $200 million.

Plum offers a range of personal care products such as moisturisers, sunscreen lotions and face masks on online channels including Flipkart and Amazon.

It ventured into offline distribution last year, which currently contributes 25% of its turnover. Plum positions itself as a mid-premium retailer, with an average product price of 500. Offline, it sells products through health-focussed retail outlets such as Health and Glow and pharmacy Nobel Plus.

Unilever Ventures India made its first investment late last year in Peel -Works, a consumer-based big data analytics company. Peel-Works helps retailers drive higher shopper loyalty, optimise their store assortments and inventory levels. It had also invested $10 million in fellow venture capital firm Chiratae Ventures, formerly IDG Ventures.

In January 2018, it also invested $3 million in grocery delivery platform Milkbasket. Milkbasket delivers essential grocery items such as milk, bread, eggs and butter at the doorstep. Globally, Unilever Ventures has invested in over 50 companies. Its investments are primarily in personal care, technology and food.

Mint reported on 29 November that Unilever Ventures is in talks along with Kalaari Capital to invest $11-12 million in online marketplace Shop101, citing three people close to the development. Shop101, which enables entrepreneurs to sell online using WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, was co-founded in 2015 by Abhinav Jain, an Indian Institute of Technology graduate.

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