A91 Partners co-founder Abhay Pandey.
A91 Partners co-founder Abhay Pandey.

Venture capital firm A91 invests up to 70 crore in Sugar Cosmetics

  • The investment will help the startup expand its offline presence through multi-brand retail and exclusive outlets
  • This is the first investment made by A91 Partners, founded by former Sequoia managing directors V.T. Bharadwaj, Gautam Mago, and Abhay Pandey

NEW DELHI: Venture capital firm A91 Partners has invested 60-70 crore in Mumbai-based make-up brand Sugar Cosmetics, two people in the know said.

This is the first investment made by A91 Partners, founded by former Sequoia managing directors V.T. Bharadwaj, Gautam Mago, and Abhay Pandey.

Singapore-based RB Investments and IndiaQuotient are already investors in Sugar Cosmetics. The company raised an undisclosed amount from RB Investments in August 2017, according to startup data platform Crunchbase.

Sugar, which was founded in 2012 by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad graduates Kaushik Mukherjee and Vineeta Singh, started as an online brand for women’s cosmetics and sells its products across platforms such as Amazon India and Nykaa. Sugar is run by beauty subscription service and e-commerce site Vellvette Lifestyle Pvt Ltd.

The investment will help the startup expand its offline presence through multi-brand retail and exclusive brand outlets, including Shopper’s Stop and Lifestyle, said one of the people mentioned above. Both of the two mentioned above spoke on condition of anonymity. Nearly 70% of Sugar’s business still comes from online channels.

Emails sent to A91’s Mago and Sugar’s Mukherjee remained unanswered until the time of going to press.

A91 was expected to start making investments in early 2019 from its 2,000-crore fund. The fund was launched with a focus on early- to growth-stage ventures in the consumer, pharmaceutical, healthcare, financial services, and technology sectors.

Bharadwaj, Mago and Pandey left Sequoia after working there for over a decade at the India offices of the Silicon Valley-based fund. At Sequoia, the three partners had invested in firms such as hotel marketplace Oyo Rooms, cab-hailing firm Ola, beverage firm Raw Pressery and online furniture retailer Urban Ladder. Sugar Cosmetics competes with rival ventures such as Colorbar, Nykaa’s private label brand, and beauty e-tailer Purplle, while horizontal e-commerce firms such as Walmart’s Flipkart and Amazon India have also ventured into the space over the past few years.

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