Apparel industry experts invest in the industry
In the Indian apparel and textile industry, start-ups have a strong presence in many segments and dominate the B2B, B2C markets and D2C brands. These start-ups, small or giant, receive millions of dollars in funding from global venture capital firms as well as Indian investors. Interestingly, there are a few angel investors who have deep understanding and involvement in apparel manufacturing and retail. Vineet Gautam, CEO, Bestseller India; Ananth Narayanan, Founder, Mensa Brands; Anand S Ahuja, MARYLAND, Shahi Exports; Pallak Seth, Founder and Vice President, Limited PDS and Neeraj Goenka, Director, Export Industries are some of them. Apart from funding, supporting investors is also very important for start-ups and this is where these industry experts add extra value to start-ups with their know-how, experience, network and global understanding. of the garment. Trade.
Funding of various start-ups
As for funding from apparel industry stalwarts, several start-ups have benefited. Retail virtuoso Vineet Gautam has invested in B2B marketplace Groyyo and luxury fashion omnichannel e-commerce platform Purple Style Labs. Anand S Ahuja and his wife Sonam Kapoor Ahuja (having their own fashion brand Rheson) support market leader Fashinza. Pallak, an angel investor since 2010, enjoys helping ambitious founders resolve market frictions and leverage technology as an angel investor alongside trusted partners. He has co-invested alongside Sequoia Capital, Sierra Ventures, Social Capital, Storm Ventures, Sherpa Ventures, and more, and helped entrepreneurs through client, co-investor, and partner pitches.
Push to invest in start-ups
Investing in start-ups is understandably the preferred choice for apparel industry stalwarts, as platforms such as Fashinza and Groyyo have gained momentum due to Covid disruptions, and with a strong technology base, the future is definitely in B2B markets. People’s push for sustainability is increasing the reach of rental platforms for Stage 3 designer clothes while luxury business and those via omnichannel are normally growth oriented. The rapid growth of start-ups like Purple Style Labs, which has achieved 50x growth in the past 4 years, is further motivating industry stalwarts to invest in them. Overall, from start-up to different rounds of funding, the performance of start-ups and their execution of an idea is an important aspect for investors.
Anand’s main areas of investment are the internet market and e-commerce, but at the same time he is a strong believer in sustainable fashion. Its funding to Fashinza illustrates its support for the marketplace and sustainability, as Fashinza claims to take all necessary steps to reduce its impact on society and the environment. Its partners are encouraged to use sustainable fabrics produced without the use of harmful chemicals.
Another prominent industry figure who is also an investor is Neeraj Goenka, director of Texport Industries and co-founder of the Robert Graham brand. Having good exposure to apparel export as well as international retail, Neeraj has invested in five apparel start-ups. D2C brand aggregator GOAT Brand Labs, Threadsole software solutions (acquired by Coats) are some of them.
“The five apparel-related start-ups I have funded are doing well. is a relatively difficult category and B2C has more reach. For me, to invest in a start-up, the most important thing is a product. It must be as attractive as for the masses and scalable,” says Neeraj, who also remained on the board of Venture Nursery (VN), India’s first angel-backed start-up accelerator, and has been a member of the Indian Angel Network since 2013.
Value Added by Apparel Industry Experts
Early-stage start-up funding allows an investor to derive maximum benefit from a start-up’s ideas. Unique ideas with innovative answers to real world problems, product uniqueness, market opportunities and scalability are some of the key areas for an investor. Along with all these aspects, the team and overall management of the start-up is also very important.
And against investing in start-ups, on average, investors expect to get at least five times (normally in 3-5 years) what they invested. Investors take a higher risk when making the decision to invest and part of this risk is also the potential failure of a start-up, which will result in the investor losing all or part of his investment. In this whole scenario, investor advice plays an important role in the growth of start-ups.
Neeraj shares that being from the apparel industry, he surely adds extra value to start-ups, especially related to the manufacturing and sourcing front, which saves them time and resources and increases opportunities for them. All in all, it makes it easier for them.
Not just angel investors
Although there are mainly angel investors with experience in the clothing industry, the giant clothing company PDS Limited, with a turnover of 1.185 billion US dollars, is actively investing in start-ups. start-ups that offer a variety of solutions across the fashion supply chain. “Some of the investments include a technology-driven approach to growing high-quality, sustainable cotton with 80% less water and fertilizer; a brand review platform that makes it easier for consumers to buy ethical and sustainable fashion; and a smart shopping network that drives more sustainable business practices,” the company states in its annual report.
PDS’ early investments are aimed at fostering the development of agile solutions for the future. Investing in opportunities aligned with our focus areas helps future-proof the business and create long-term value. Through PDS Venture Tech Investments, he has three collaborations – True PDS Fund with a major focus on sustainable and digital fashion and consumer brands. Apex Black VC Fund is for AI/ML-backed deep tech companies working on science breakthroughs and business model disruptions.
Similarly, PDS Impact Fund, in association with Yellow Octopus, is a circular fashion impact fund focused on investing in sustainability throughout the fashion supply chain. The company also partners with leading funds to co-invest in selected opportunities.
It has invested in Filkor Limited, which has developed a product destruction process that allows high-end fashion houses to turn their waste and excess inventory into an aggregate which is then 100% recycled into a variety of other uses such as brick slips, shop fittings. , and other artistic and functional objects. Few digital-focused consumer brands have also secured investment from the company, such as Bedfolk, Maude overseas. While in India, she invested in Mumbai-based Verandah, a conscious luxury resort and swimwear line.