India’s Latest Unicorn ‘Purplle’ Was Started By 3 IITans Who Quit Their Jobs For It

India’s Latest Unicorn ‘Purplle’ Was Started By 3 IITans Who Quit Their Jobs For It

The brand Purplle needs no introduction. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Mumbai, it is an e-commerce platform as well as a popular cosmetic brand. They also have retail stores. What makes Purplle different from others is their budget-friendly options in personal care products.

The company is India’s latest Unicorn — a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion. Purplle raised Rs 256 crore of Series E financing from South Korea’s Paramark Ventures.

The company, co-founded by Manish Taneja, Rahul Dash and Suyash Katyayani, has raised $33 million from Paramark Ventures at a valuation of $1.1 billion. Premji Invest, Blume Ventures and Kedaara Capital are the existing investors in the company.

“The company intends to use this capital for acquisition and fund its inorganic growth plans,” reported Business Insider.

“The infusion is an opportunity to further our mission of building the beauty industry in India with technological investments, scaling of our private brands, and industry-first innovations,” Manish Taneja, co-founder and CEO of Purplle, said in a press meet.

Manish, an electrical engineering graduate from IIT, Delhi passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) test in 2010. He started his career as an intern in a venture capital-funded technology company. Later, he worked as an analyst for more than four years. In 2012, he quit his job to start Purplle with two partners, with an aim of #BeautyForAll.

India’s Latest Unicorn: Engineer Quit His Job to Launch Fashion Brand ‘Purplle’
Rahul Dash, Manish Taneja and Suyash Katyayani, co-founders of Purplle.

The largest rival of the company is Nykaa, which became a Unicorn startup in 2020. According to Economic Times, Purplle has seven million monthly active users and over 1,000 brands on its platform, including five private labels. The brand has a strong presence in Tier 2 and 3 cities as well. Last year, they acquired another prominent cosmetic brand, Faces Canada.

“From the first quarter of FY22 to Q1 of FY23, our revenue has more than doubled. Also, the business has become more diversified. While online is obviously still the lion’s share of our revenue, offline is also now quite significant. I think that’s what’s probably led to us being able to command a valuation that is almost double of what it was in the last round,” Manish told Economic Times.

He also notes that the company won’t be setting up too many offline stores, as the online market has surged right after the outbreak of the pandemic. “Purplle targets middle-class buyers from smaller Indian towns who look for value. Like Nykaa, it sells its own products under a private label. Indian consumers are increasingly taking to these newer, aggressively-priced brands, many of which tout chemical-free products,” opines Deccan Herald.

Chunsoo Kim, founder and managing partner of Paramark Ventures, said in the press meet, “Purplle is addressing the enormous vacuum in the beauty and personal care industry in India in a way that the rising demand from massive Indian consumers can be best served beyond the limited set of customers in a few major cities.”

“Apart from hiring talent, the company is scripting its growth story and differentiating itself by leveraging data and being positive at the unit economics level,” Manish told Forbes India.

According to Forbes, experts in the industry had always felt that even at the stage of funding, the founders of Purplle had the maturity and clarity to know exactly what they wanted and what they were not going after. And they landed here as a Unicorn startup, it’s no surprise.

Sources:

“Nykaa competitor Purplle is the latest unicorn after a $33 million fundraise”, published by Business Insider on June 9 2022.

“Beauty retailer Purplle becomes India’s 102nd unicorn with $33 million funding”, published by Zee News on June 9 2022.

“Manish Taneja left a high-paying job; his company Purplle is now India’s newest unicorn”, published by LiveMint on June 9 2022.

“Goldman-backed beauty startup Purplle becomes India’s newest unicorn”, published by Deccan Herald on June 9 2022.

“How Purplle is solving beauty for women in tier 2 cities and beyond”, published by Forbes India on April 18 2022.

LinkedIn/ Manish Taneja

Photo Credits: Forbes India

Edited by Divya Sethu

Author: Aaron Ryan