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Online retailer Yepme receives INR 80 crore in fresh funds

TCS Capital and JS Capital invest INR 30 crore, while existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Capricorn Investment put in almost Rs50 crore

Online fashion retailer, run by VAS Data Services, has received close to INR 80 crore in fresh funding from existing and new investors, including Eric Semler’s TCS Capital and Jonathan Soros-backed JS Capital, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

TCS Capital together with JS Capital has invested INR 30 crore, according to the filings. Existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Capricorn Investment Group have invested close to INR 50 crore in the last three months, the documents suggest.

The Gurgaon-based company is in advance talks to raise an additional $5-7 million by the end of February, according to two people close to the development who requested anonymity.

Yepme was among the few start-ups that met Softbank chief executive officer Masayoshi Son during his recent India visit and the company is currently in early talks with the Japanese bank for raising its next large round of fundings.

In 2015, the company is targeting to raise $100 million, chief executive and co-founder Vivek Gaur said in an interview in December. Gaur declined to comment on the recent funding.

Yepme was started by Gaur and Sandeep Sharma in 2011. It sells private labels under the brand name Yepme in ethnic Indian wear and western wear for men and women. The company competes with online private label brands such as Zovi and Freecultr.

“They have understood the industry well. An online private label fashion brand offers convenience and latest yet affordable fashion,” said Prashant Mehra, partner, Grant Thornton India Llp, who sees significant opportunity for such companies.

“These companies have a price and cost advantage. They have better margins compared with other e-commerce marketplaces who aggregate brands and unlike offline brands they do not open stores and instead use the money to advertise and market themselves.”

According to Yepme, it currently offers services in more than 1,000 cities and delivers close to 500,000 units a month.

Yepme recently hired actor Shah Rukh Khan to promote its brand and launched its television campaign with him last month. According to the company, since the launch of the commercial, its sales have more than doubled.

The company reported a loss of INR 45.5 crore on sales of INR 61 crore for the year ended 31 March, according to documents filed with the RoC. Yepme is targeting a revenue of over INR 200 crore by March 2015 and INR 600 crore by the next fiscal year. According to the company, 70% of its revenue comes from the men’s category. The company along with selling on sells its products on marketplaces such as Flipkart and Snapdeal. The company also started its international business in April 2014. It currently sells to customers in the US and plans to expand its presence to others markets in the coming months.

India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach $6 billion in 2015, a 70% increase over the 2014 revenue of $3.5 billion, according to a Gartner Inc. report. E-commerce currently represents less than 4% of the total retail market, according to the report.

The article appeared in Mint. The article can be found here.