Meet Bhavna Suresh ⁠— a serial entrepreneur who just raised $40 million in seed funding for her startup 10club

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Meet Bhavna Suresh ⁠— a serial entrepreneur who just raised $40 million in seed funding for her startup 10club
10Club
  • 10club has closed its seed funding round at $40 million, which is one of the largest seed financing rounds in the South Asian market.
  • India currently has only 285 startups led or co-led by women entrepreneurs, according to an industry report.
  • Before founding 10club, Bhavna Suresh built brands like Lamudi Philippines and women’s wear on-demand rental service StyleBank.
Even as India has climbed up to be the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world, the contribution of female entrepreneurs does not make the headlines so often. There are many reasons behind it, ranging from lack of opportunities, investor apprehension and more. But on Tuesday (June 29), a woman serial entrepreneur Bhavna Suresh closed India’s largest seed round for her nine-month-old startup 10club.

10club has closed its seed funding round at $40 million, which is one of the largest seed financing round in the South Asian market. This round was co-led by consumer brands-focused Fireside Ventures and an undisclosed international investor.

San Francisco-based marketplace accelerator Heyday, PDS international, Class 5 Global, Secocha Ventures led by Sanket Parekh, and boAt founders Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta also participated in this seed funding round.

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Suresh founded 10club last year, along with Joel Ayala and Deepak Nair. It is an e-commerce player that will acquire small merchants and brands listed on Amazon marketplace. After the acquisition of Amazon seller’s businesses, the brand will scale them up.

The biggest player in the segment is New York-based Thras.io, with a presence in the US, and has acquired more than 100 third party sellers or fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) businesses.

The 10club workforce is a 20-people team, with people from several enterprises and digital businesses like Amazon, Flipkart, Udaan, Reliance, Coca Cola and others.

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According to a State of Women in Tech Entrepreneurship in India 2020 report, there has been a 11 times increase in the number of women entrepreneurs in the last decade (2010-2020). Yet, the number of female-founded and co-founded tech startups in the country stands at 285, as of last year.

Between 1990 and 2010, only 26 startups had at least one female founder. About 75 startups added at least one woman founder by 2014 and 180 jumped by 2019.

In an ecosystem with such a scarcity of women entrepreneurs, the recent milestone hit by the nine-month-old startup 10club is is a milestone for the women-led startups in the country.

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Even from this small pool of female entrepreneurs, many have overcome several challenges to be role models in tech. This includes Nykaa’s Falguni Nayar, Mobikwik’s Upasana Taku, Sheroes’ Sairee Chahal, Zivame’s Ruchi Kar, Yatra.com’s Sabina Chopra and others.

Before founding 10club, Suresh has built brands like Lamudi Philippines (2016) and women’s wear on-demand rental service StyleBank (2014). She completed her education masters in business administration (MBA) in management strategies in HEC Paris in 2015-2016.

Lamudi Philippines is a real estate startup that enables its customers to buy, sell and rent property in the Philippines. The company had raised $56 million from Asia Pacific Internet Group, Axel Springers and others. It was acquired by digital classifieds groups Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) last year.

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Nair has had quite an extensive entrepreneurial journey as well. He had previously founded digital marketing agency 22feet Tribal Worldwide in 2019 and an independent advertising network White Canvas Communications in 2006. Notably, Suresh had worked as a business development manager at 22feet Tribal Worldwide between 2012 and 2014. Ayala, on the other hand, has been a serial investor and has founded venture fund Class 5 Global in 2018.

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