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BENGALURU : Thrasio-style investment venture GlobalBees has raised $150 million in a mix of equity and debt, the company said on Monday. This is one of the largest Series A rounds raised by an Indian startup.

The round was led by FirstCry. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Premji Invest, Chiratae Ventures, SoftBank and Chrys Capital also participated in the round. As part of the transaction, Vikas Agnihotri of SoftBank, Harsha Kumar of Lightspeed, Atul Gupta of Premji Invest, Sudhir Sethi of Chiratae Ventures and Kshitij Sheth of Chrys Capital will join the GlobalBees board.

The Thrasio-style model refers to a company that acquires fast-growing online brands to build an assortment of products, while helping them scale and significantly grow their businesses through investments in technology, working capital and marketing efforts.

It was popularized by American firm Thrasio, which has raised $1.85 billion in equity and debt since its inception in 2018. In India, the model has caught the fancy of investors. In June, 10club had raised $40 million in a seed round, led by Fireside Ventures, making it the highest seed-funded startup in India.

Founded by FirstCry founder Supam Maheshwari and former executive at Edelweiss Financial Services Nitin Agarwal, GlobalBees looks to partner with digitally native brands across categories such as beauty and personal care, home, kitchen, food, nutrition, sports, and lifestyle, with a revenue rate of $1 million to $20 million.

Besides making strategic investments, GlobalBees plans to help the brands scale and diversify their digital footprint through direct-to-consumer channels. It also plans to support product development, branding and other key activities such as warehousing and logistics.

“GlobalBees aims to unleash the power of product innovation by Indian entrepreneurs and strategically partner with them to help them realize the full potential of their brand and products. Apart from capital, GlobalBees brings in strategic capabilities across marketing and growth, technology, distribution, sourcing, product development and operations—all things essential to rapidly scale the brands in the digital space," said Nitin Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer, GlobalBees.

Highlighting the market opportunity, the company said India is seeing an uptick in smaller brands with nearly 120,000 new vendors selling on Amazon India. Of this, over 4,200 brands had crossed 1 crore in sales in 2020 alone, the company said.

GlobalBees is in the process of integrating over 10 digitally native brands.

Maheshwari and Agarwal had also co-founded e-learning platform Brainvisa Technologies in 2000.

“India is at the cusp of a direct-to-consumer revolution with an estimated market size of $200 billion in the next five years. Indian brands have shown great promise in recent years, and we believe that GlobalBees is building great assets to accelerate the growth of digitally native brands in the country," said Vikas Agnihotri, operating partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers.

At present, GlobalBees has offices in New Delhi and Bengaluru, and will leverage the presence of FirstCry in the international market for both sourcing and distribution, it said in a statement. Earlier this year, Myntra and Medlife executive Ananth Narayanan had founded Mensa Brands, a Thrasio-style venture. It had raised $50 million as part of its Series A round led by Accel, Falcon Edge Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.

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