The number of Indian eCommerce startups has crossed 5000, with several new age brands coming under this bracket. The eCommerce pundits estimate India’s D2C market growth to reach $400 billion by 2030, which is 4x times the valuation that was pinned for 2025.
Two years ago, mobile commerce, or m-Commerce accounted for ~80% of the total retail eCommerce sales in India. And this indicates that digital familiarity and increased purchasing power have influenced buying preferences, emboldening the average shopper to trust online brands. The result is that the demand has grown for the D2C segment, encouraging more players to throw their hat in the ring. The onus is on those D2C brands to differentiate themselves through their product offerings, after sales customer service and personalized experiences
This post will take a look at upcoming and high-performing new age brands providing direct-to-consumer services.
Category: Personal hygiene
While the global valuation for the personal hygiene market is estimated to come to $720 billion by 2023, the Indian market might see a 30% increase from the pre-Covid times, nearing the estimated figure of $15 billion. Growing awareness has led to more consumers taking personal hygiene, health and wellness more seriously, giving rise to new age brands that are taking on household names such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble.
1. Svish on-the-go
Svish was founded by Ishan Grover and Jaideep Mahajan in 2020. Both the founders discovered that the existing sanitizers were either too oily or sticky and wanted to create a product line that bridged this gap while capitalizing on the demand for personal hygiene products fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Svish currently has 12 SKUs which include skin-friendly sanitizers, gadget disinfectant wipes, toilet hygiene and gender-specific ‘below-the-belt’ hygiene. The brand has raised Rs 4 lacs in their seed funding round from LC Nueva AIF last year and reported plans to use the funds for future branding initiatives.
Their strategy is omnichannel. Besides selling on their own website, the brand’s products can be found on Amazon and Big Basket as well as in airport stores such as WHSmith. Ishan credits the brand’s success to its marketing tactics that are aimed at a younger audience of Gen Z and millennial shoppers.
2. Mosaic wellness
Mosaic Wellness was founded in December 2019 by Dhyanesh Shah and Revant Bhate. Mosaic sells gender-focused health and wellness products under the names Manmatters and Bodywise, which offer teleconsulting services and medicines. They offer a wellness assessment with a one-off complimentary medical call and an In-app video consultation service which launched in 2021. This was the same year in which the brand got $24 million in funding from Sequoia Capital India, Elevation Capital and Matrix Partners India.
Mosaic has differentiated itself by launching a wellness assessment that includes personalized reports and a one-off complimentary call with doctors. The products are displayed according to your wellness report which tailors the experience for site visitors.
Mylo started out as a forum for expecting and new moms before pivoting to personal wellness. It was founded by Vinit Garg in 2018 and stocks 100+ Ayurvedic products, maternity wear,mother and baby care products.
The new age brand’s health trackers for ovulation and growth have soared in popularity, with the app downloaded 10,00,000 times by mothers across India. They sell via eCommerce marketplaces and have shipped orders to 16k pin codes.
Nua is a women-centric wellness and personal hygiene brand that was founded by Ravi Ramachandran in 2017. The products sold include sanitary napkins, menstrual relief and skincare.
The brand leverages celebrity endorsements to establish its credibility, with its “Go-with-your-flow” campaign featuring Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. Nua has raised $13 million over four funding rounds from investors like Kae Capital and Lightbox VC.
FroGo is an online frozen food store launched by serial entrepreneur Mira Jhala in March 2022. This makes it the youngest entrant to the list of new age brands! Jhala previously worked for CureFit and had the idea to make food scalable with cold storage options.
FroGo uses smart technology for a cold chain with products that include ice creams, frozen veggies and meat. The company retails and distributes products across household brands such as McCain, Haldiram and ITC besides newer ones such as Keventers. With the Indian frozen food market currently valued at $15 billion, FroGo is one-of-a-kind and is targeting a revenue of 100 crores for FY2023. The company intends to use some of this revenue towards expanding their presence across all metro cities,
6. iD fresh food
iD Fresh Food was started by Set up in 2005 by cousins P.C Musthafa, Abdul Nazer, Shamsudeen TK, Jafar and Noushad TA. iD Fresh Foods revolves around convenience cooking, with ready-to-make batters their most popular offering. The company sells natively and overseas.
The Bengaluru-based D2C new-age brand raised $68 million in funding, bringing their total funding to $104 million.Azim Premji is one of the investors to back iD Fresh Foods, besides Helion and Sequoia Capital. The company is aiming to reach a valuation of INR 2000 crores by raising funds in the range of INR 400-450 crores.
7. Samosa Singh
Samosa Singh was the idea of one enterprising duo- Shikhar and Nidhi Singh. The husband and wife quit their corporate jobs to sell Samosas in 2016. Samosa Singh under the official company name WoknStove Foodworks restored the popularity of India’s favorite snack by investing 1L+ hours on research to make it healthier, guilt-free and gourmet.
Samosa Singh is planning to leverage cross-border ecommerce to expand internationally under the frozen foods category to bring home tastes to every kitchen abroad. To this end, this new-age brand is working with a consultancy to launch globally, starting with the North American markets. The food startup raised $2.7 million from investors like Fireside Ventures, AET funds and She Capital.
Noise is a smart wearables new-age brand that Amit and Gaurav Khatri founded in 2014. The products sell on their own website as well across eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart.
With earnings crossing INR 370 crores in 2021, Noise’s profit went up by ~80%. The company sells 35 SKUs including headsets, speakers and smart watches. Competing against other wearable brands like boAt, Noise credits its sales growth to extensive discount campaigns that saw the company spend nearly 40 crores on advertising and promotion.
Category: Beauty and personal care
Plum belongs to Pureplay Skin Sciences, a cruelty-free vegan cosmetics health startup founded in 2013 by Shankar Prasad. Plum leverages an omnichannel strategy that covers 1000 assisted and 10,000 unassisted outlets in India, besides its home website and eCommerce marketplaces
In March 2022, the D2C beauty brand got funding of ~270 crores from A91 partners in addition to existing backers such as Unilever Ventures and Faering Capital. Plum’s annualized revenue hit 200+ crores with plans to double this figure in the next year.
Minimalist is a beauty and skin care company launched in 2020 by Mohit and Rahul Yadav. Based out of Jaipur, the D2C new age brand’s SKUs include serums,toners and moisturizers, which are available via website and eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Nykaa and Myntra.
The Minimalist received $15 Mn in funds from Sequoia Capital India and Unilever Ventures, leading to the brand acquiring 1million+ customers. Minimalist's founders and investors attribute its scientific efficacy-first approach to its sales growth.
Sahil Dharia founded Soothe in 2012. Soothe is a personal hygiene and babycare d2c brand that sells diapers under the name Super Cute. Soothe distributes its products directly and indirectly through various intermediaries. The brand marked women’s day this year by launching a new stately manufacturing facility in UP that measures 1.5 lakh square feet. The intent is to double production capacity to 1 billion units. Soothe Healthcare’s 5-year plan is to become a 1000-crore brand, having succeeded in reaching a 300-crore run rate in FY 2021-22.
Last year, A91Partners invested $17.5 million in Soothe, enabling the healthcare brand’s annualized funds to reach $31.3 million. Other investors include Symphony International Holdings, Sixth Sense Ventures and Saina Nehwal.
DaMENSCH is a men’s clothing and apparel brand launched by Anurag Saboo and Gaurav Pushkar in 2018.Fabric engineering innovation is at the centre of the brand, which Pushkar credits with growing the company. The company’s journey started with unique products such as deodorizing innerwear and organically-crafted vests before offering 500-day warranty loungewear.
This new-age brand clocked an annual revenue of 100 crores in 2021 and raised $16.4 million in February 2022 from A91 Partners,Saama Capital, Matrix Partners and Whiteboard Capital. They’re eyeing 3x growth with channel expansion in the years to come.
Blissclub is an activewear brand developed by Minu Margeret in 2019. The SKUs sold include sports bras, tees and bottom wear. The D2C startup secured $15 Mn in funding, which is 6x the funds it received in 2021. The sales correspondingly grew 25 times, as issued in a company statement.
In an optimistic forecast, Margaret said that BlissClub was on track to reach an annualized run rate of 100 crores. A few notable angel investors include Swiggy, Mamaearth, Licious and Shopify.
14. Bombay shirt company
The Bombay Shirt Company is NOT to be confused by the Bombay Shaving Company! This custom clothing brand was founded in 2012 by Akshay Narvekar. The brands under the BSC are cityof_ ,Korra and Pause, with a presence overseas in U.A.E and New York.
In 2019, the startup raised $8 million in funding from Lightbox and $4.31 K from angel investors in June 2021. It’s currently valued at $3.55 million.
Category : Branding eCommerce
15. Mensa Brands
Mensa Brands is a digital house of brands that partners brands with the right investors to pave the way for lucrative exits for the founders. The platform was launched in 2021 by Ananth Narayanan and is backed by Accel, Innoven Capital,Falcon Edge and Norwest.
A strong advocate for establishing an international presence to become a household name, Ananth who heads Mensa as its CEO is pitching a lifestyle portfolio to global audiences. Mensa brands has already reached unicorn status and sells some products in the U.S, U.K,U.A.E, Canada, Germany and Singapore. Narayanan has reported that ~30% of Mensa’s total revenue is generated through overseas sales.
Upscalio is a Gurugram-based brand aggregator startup that buys and invests in eCommerce businesses. It was founded by Gautam Kshatriya, Saaim Khan and Nitin Agarwal.
UpScalio has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Gulf Islamic Investments, Northern Arc and Unity Bank,which makes it its 6th investment from the time it launched in 2021, and less than a year from the time it raised $42.5 million.
17. Global Bees
Globalbees is a brands aggregator that entered the unicorn club towards the tail end of 2021. The platform was launched by Supam Maheshwari and Nitin Agarwal.
Globalbees acquires and partners with native brands that have a revenue rate of $1 to 20 million. Product categories include kitchenware, health and nutrition, beauty and sports. These firms can scale to marketplaces in and outside India.
Investors include Premji Invest, Steadview capital, Lightspeed, Softbank and FirstCry. The financial backing provided by Azim Premji caused the brand’s valuation to cross $1.1 billion.
Melorra is a jeweler that leverages an omnichannel strategy to sell to its women audience. It was founded in 2016 by Saroja Yeramilli with the intention of remaining an online-first brand, although it transacts offline as well across 2800 Indian towns. Yeramilli worked at Tanishq for a decade before exploring her entrepreneurial side.
The brand witnessed ~200% YoY growth indicating a shopper’s acceptance and comfort with online gold shopping. Yeramilli reports that the physical stores are a strategic move to grow presence and sales through brand awareness. Interestingly, more demand and growth is observed in rural and Tier-II,III cities over Tier-1 cities.
The jewellery startup raised $16 million in capital from Axis Growth Avenues and N+1, acquiring a funding of $66.9 million. The annualized revenue rate crossed $100 Mn in FY 2021-22.
Caratlane is a Tanishq partnership that was founded in 2008 by Mithun Sacheti and Srinivasa Gopalan. The SKUs include a range of jewelry for adults and kids alike. Like most brands talked about in this post, Caratlane leverages an omnichannel marketing strategy. Revenue was driven primarily by a marked improvement in marketing efficiency where product launches focused on affordable category launches and additions. The brand enjoyed a cash infusion from the Titan Company in 2019 which increased its stake to ~ 70%.
What’s In Store For New-Age D2C Brands?
The fact that the modern consumer is more open to experimentation is encouraging an addressable market for new age brands. The product line questions convention, encourages innovation and breaks societal taboos around formerly touchy subjects such as personal hygiene and mental wellness, particularly in conversative communities.
The marriage between new-age and D2C will sustain due to rarity, practicality and novelty. But before you draft those quirky marketing ad copies, know that intentional messaging in the content strategy has a stronger likelihood of the brand living rent-free in their target shopper’s head. The parameters prompting consumer conversations and driving brand recall will be
- Effective content utilization
- Influencer collaboration and celebrity endorsements.
- Community involvement
- Networking events
Delivering a seamless experience irrespective of the medium through which the customer starts and ends their journey is of paramount importance. You don’t want to get into a situation where your customer walks up to you in person only to be discouraged that your offline store does not stock what they were eyeing on your website! A disruptive brand will ensure that their communication is consistent and relevant to not get lost in the sea of marketing messages that they get daily.