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Former Myntra CEO plans to launch ‘House of Brands’

Ananth Narayanan, the former CEO of Myntra and co-founder of MEdlife, has embarked on his newest venture. The plan is to build brands for online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. This would be helpful to tap into India’s developing e-commerce market. The founder of Mensa Brands claims that the goal is “to build a technology-led ‘House of brands’ that’s ready for the e-commerce age, built from India but for the global market”.

The objective of this startup is to acquire at least 50 brands that are more than three years old and to build the expertise to scale them. The company aims to help these brands with the leverage tools it has built to expand their business on marketplaces or on global platforms, through their own websites. Ananth Narayanan said that they are looking for profitable brands in categories like apparel, personal care, home, and beauty. The brands must be earning at least $1-10 million (Rs 10-70 crore) in revenue. 

House of Brands

We have briefly summarized their objectives below :

  • They identify and invest in proven digital-first brands in the Lifestyle, Home, and Beauty verticals.
  • They leverage their expertise in driving growth, product, merchandising, technology, supply chain, product, and access to global markets. They profitably grow brands beyond 10x in a very short period.
  • They go from the first discussion to cash in the bank within 4 weeks thereby allowing an accelerated focus on business.

Narayanan has much experience with building and working with brands. Narayanan was earlier part of the online pharmacy startup Medlife as Co-founder and CEO in 2019. He stepped down in March 2021 after its acquisition by the rival company, PharmEasy. 

Mensa has decided to use equity capital for acquiring stakes in brands, and the debt to finance the operations of these businesses. Narayanan has been a strong supporter of startups and brands with sustainable growth. However, profitability has to be the key criteria for picking brands. His latest venture has already raised $50 million from Accel, Falcon Edge Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and others.

Mensa will focus on online brands which assemble revenue from marketplaces, their own websites, and other platforms. They may consider established offline brands which are planning to shift to online domains. In an interview, he expressed his spirit of optimism about the venture. He also said “There are 4,000 digital brands in the categories we are eying and the number doubles if we look offline…And we’re only hoping to buy 50 of them. There’s enough opportunity for everyone.”

Mensa mentioned that it is not going to focus on electronics and grocery segments because of their minimal margin and cut-throat competition. The company is yet to share its upcoming deals in the coming weeks.

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