Global Bees will buy, consolidate and fast-track the growth of brands that sell products on ecommerce marketplaces in India.
The model popularised by US-based Thrasio – the world’s largest acquirer of third-party private label businesses on Amazon – is picking up pace in India. About half a dozen investors have already set out to start their own ventures to acquire and grow companies this way.
Thrasio has within three years of launch acquired, consolidated and scaled up about 100 brands on Amazon. The profitable company has raised $1.7 billion across debt and equity and is worth $3-$4 billion, according to news reports.
Global Bees will look to acquire 30-40 direct to consumer firms over the next three to four years, investing around $2-$6 million in each. It will use the deep consumer insights that founders and investors have gained over the years to help them grow, one person said.
Global Bees will look to partner or acquire brands across categories and will not limit it to Firstcry’s mainstay children’s category, the person, who has direct knowledge of the company’s plans, added.
“Small brands do not have the marketing and digital branding bandwidth, the warehousing and logistical support and the new product development knowhow that such ventures can provide,” said another person. “The company will either buy out these smaller brands or will pick up a controlling stake in these companies to work alongside the founders.”
Global Bees will be headed by Nitin Agarwal, the former president and Group CIO, CTO and Chief Digital Officer at Edelweiss Financial Services, sources said.
ET could not independently verify this.
“The venture is already in talks to acquire three to four small brands and an announcement is likely within a month,” a third person with direct knowledge of the company’s plans said.
SoftBank and TPG did not comment, while ChrysCapital and Premji Invest did not respond to emails.
A Firstcry spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last month, a consortium of private equity investors – TPG, ChrysCapital and Premji Invest –
invested around $315 million in Firstcry, valuing the Pune-based company at around $1.9-$2.1 billion.
A few former investors and entrepreneurs have started their own versions of the Thrasio-like investment platform.
Ananth Narayanan, the former chief executive of Medlife and Myntra, is also starting his own Thrasio-like platform.
Accel, Falcon Edge and Norwest Venture Partners have committed $25 million to the venture, according to multiple people in the know who spoke to ET.
India is seeing an uptick of smaller brands, with around 8,50,000 vendors selling on Amazon India, of which around 4,152 have crossed Rs 1 crore in sales in 2020.
Similarly, there are around 350,000 such sellers on Flipkart, of which 70 have crossed the Rs 1 crore sales mark.