Indian lifestyle brand boAt, one of the 23 start-ups from the Fireside Ventures portfolio, has grown into a $100 million dollar brand (₹750 crore) and is on track to exceed ₹1,000 crore this fiscal. Personal care brand MamaEarth, another portfolio start-up from the Fireside Ventures stable, has evolved into a nearly ₹500 crore brand and is on path to grow into a $100 million dollar brand this fiscal. The D2C brands were both founded in 2016.

Theirgrowth has not only taken its founders by surprise but has pushed Kanwaljit Singh, founder and Managing Partner at Fireside Ventures, to rethink his vision.

Fireside’s vision

A year after launching Fireside Ventures, an early stage venture fund focused exclusively on consumer brands in 2017, Singh announced that Fireside’s vision was to “build 10 iconic ₹100 crore digital-first consumer brands”. Within 10 months of his announcement, Singh changed the goalpost to building 25 iconic $100 million brands over the next 10-15 years.

“While we definitely believed that this would happen, their revenue numbers certainly surprised us. The pace at which these start-ups were able to identify their product-market fit came as a big surprise. The fact that it is happening much faster with much lesser capital than we had envisaged, also surprised us,” Singh told BusinessLine . “Five to seven years ago, I would have said it will take 5-6 years to build a ₹100 crore brand with a spend of ₹70-80 crore or more. Now within 3-4 years, we are seeing ₹100 crore plus brands being built with investment as less as ₹25 crore.”

Also read: How VCs, PEs are raising money to fund start-ups despite the raging pandemic

Singh believes, boAt and MamaEarth are not one-off cases as evident from their playbook. Their growth is being replicated by many of Fireside’s other portfolio start-ups including Vahdam Teas, Design Cafe, Ninety One Cycles and The Ayurveda Experience, all of which are ₹100 crore plus brands today and are on track to become ₹500 crore plus brands in the next 2-3 years.

The pandemic further validated Fireside’s thesis of investing in digital-first consumer brands. Fireside believes that the shift seen in consumer demand for a safer, natural and ethically sourced products with an extra dose of “wellness & goodness” are here to stay.

boAt’s mantra

“boAt became a $100 million brand within two years of Fireside setting the target in January 2019. We focused on brand building from day zero, unlike earlier electronics brands that would only sell on price.We offer quality, aspirational lifestyle products at logical price points. boAt is the market leader in the personal audio category in India for the last three quarters as per IDC” Aman Gupta co-founder boAt told BusinessLine.

MamaEarth’s DNA

Varun Alagh, co-founder and CEO of MamaEarth said revenue grew 400 per cent in FY 21 to nearly ₹500 crore, largely due to its digital-first DNA. “We realised e-commerce has brought in the largest disruption in distribution in the CPG industry and we went all in on that firm belief. With e-commerce we can reach out to 30,000 pincodes across the country and combined with digital marketing technology, we can create magic. We also have access to rich consumer data/trends which we used to build a fast innovation engine to come up with 60 new products in 2020,” he said.

Also read: Business lesson: What sets an entrepreneur apart

Rishabh Chopra, founder-CEO, The Ayurveda Experience which clocked ₹100 crore plus last fiscal from customers in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, plans to launch a new brand in India in the next few months.