Former Myntra CEO started Mensa Brand in May ⁠and it’s already worth a billion dollars

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Former Myntra CEO started Mensa Brand in May ⁠and it’s already worth a billion dollars
Ananth Narayanan, former CEO of Myntra and MedlifeBCCL
  • Ananth Narayanan had led brands like Myntra and Medlife in the past, and is also a board member at Marico.
  • Mensa Brand is a Thrasio-style house of brand company, which will acquire local retail brands and scale them up.
  • While several companies have raised multi-million rounds on this model, US-based Thras.io is also set to enter India soon.
Mensa Brands, founded only six months ago by Myntra’s former chief executive Ananth Narayanan, is the latest as well as the youngest startup to enter the unicorn club.

A unicorn, in the startup purlance, is a company valued at over billion dollars.

Mensa brand’s business model is based on the New York-based e-commerce player Thras.io, which acquires small merchants and brands listed on Amazon marketplace. Thras.io has acquired more than 100 third party sellers or fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) businesses and is valued at $5 billion.

Big money backing Mensa

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Mensa Brands reached that milestone, after raising $135 million in a funding round led by Alpha Wave Ventures. Prosus Ventures (previously known as Naspers) also joined the fundraise as a new investor.

Several existing investors — including Accel PArtners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global — also participated in the round.

Ananth Narayanan served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Myntra for four years, between 2015 and 2019. Prior to that, he worked at management consultancy firm McKinsey for almost 16 years and rose to the position of a managing partner.
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Narayanan also joined epharmacy company Medlife as a cofounder and CEO in 2019, which was sold to initial public offering (IPO)-bound PharmEasy earlier this year. He is also a board member at one of the biggest consumer products companies in India, Marico, which owns popular brands like Saffola (cooking oil) and Parachute (hair oil).

A growing business model

He started Mensa Brand in May this year. It is a Thrasio-style house of brand company, which will acquire local retail brands and scale them up.

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The business model has also garnered the interest of marquee investors in India over the last one year. While Indian players like 10Club and GlobalBees (founded by FirstCry founder Supam Maheshwari and Edelweiss' former executive Nitin Agarwal) have garnered the interest of investors, Thras.io has taken note of this trend as well.

The US-based company Thras.io raised over a billion dollars last month to enter the Indian market directly. The company reported a profit of $100 million last year and now aims to boost its revenue to $1 billion for this financial year, as per a Moneycontrol report.

Mensa Brands is the first Indian Thras.io-style company to be valued over a billion dollars. The company has acquired a dozen brands already and now plans on closing 20 more deals soon. The company will use the fresh funding to grow its portfolio and hire across functions.

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“We are truly platform neutral and our brands are present across different platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho and others. We are excited to back more founders and brands and scale them further,” Narayanan said.

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