American investment bank Goldman Sachs and Belgian private investment firm Verlinvest have led a $40 million funding round in online makeup and beauty products retailer Purplle, said three people directly aware of the matter, requesting anonymity.
Founded by Rahul Dash and Manish Taneja, Purplle sells makeup products and fashion accessories, as well as wellness products for men and women on its website. Besides selling renowned brands, it has also introduced its private label, along the lines of its rival, Nykaa. It also provides makeup content and guided videos from bloggers.
Purplle said on Thursday that Goldman Sachs led a $30 million round. It however, declined to comment on the investment from Verlinvest.
Purplle’s existing investors, including Blume Ventures, IvyCap Ventures and JSW Ventures, also took part in the round.
Arjun Anand, who oversees Verlinvest’s Indian investments, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
On 19 September, Mint had first reported that Goldman Sachs was in talks to lead a ₹300 crore round in Purplle.
Niladri Mukhopadhyay, a managing director of Goldman Sachs, said in a statement: “Purplle, which has managed impressive growth while applying financial discipline, is one of the most promising vertical e-commerce platforms in India. The successful combination of best in class technology with their own innovative brands and localized beauty content is a key differentiator in this rapidly growing segment of India’s online market."
The capital will be used to boost supply of brands on its platform, invest in women-focused digital content, create a personalized experience for users driven by its recommendation engine, and create a supply chain of “world class beauty products", the company said.
Purplle competes directly and indirectly with Nykaa, founded by veteran investment banker Falguni Nayar, Sugar Cosmetics and skincare startup Plum, which is backed by Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer giant Unilever.
While Sugar Cosmetics raised $10 million earlier this year from A91 Partners, Nykaa secured ₹100 crore from TPG Growth in April, at a valuation of ₹5,000 crore. However, unlike Nykaa, Purplle is looking at Tier 2 and 3 cities for growth.
Nykaa turned profitable in FY19, it claimed last week, turning a profit of ₹2 crore on a revenue of about ₹1,160 crore.
Verlinvest has been an active investor in Indian consumer firms in the last few years. Its bets include Epigamia Foods, sauce-maker Veeba, Sula Vineyards, and online education firm Byju’s, among others.