Six-month-old start-up Mensa Brands has raised $135 million Series B funding from Falcon Edge’s Alpha Wave Ventures at a valuation of over billion dollars.

Other investors such as Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management and Prosus Ventures (Naspers) also participated in this round. Till now, Mensa has raised a total of $300 million in equity and debt.

Talking about the growth in the company’s valuation, Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands, told BusinessLine , “we can potentially build a $10 billion to $12 billion business out of Mensa over the next ten years and I think investors see our ability to accelerate a lot more which has led to the growth in the company’s valuation. It is not just our ability to partner with brands but it is also our ability to accelerate the brand’s growth that is important.”

Mensa Brands invests in 10 digital brands

Mensa was started in May 2021 with a vision to partner and invest in digital-first brands across fashion and apparel, home and garden, beauty and personal care and food, and scale them exponentially. To date, the company has partnered with 12 brands in fashion, beauty and home categories.

Majority of these brands are said to be growing at 100 per cent YoY since their integration with Mensa. The company works with founding teams to accelerate growth on marketplaces, through the brand’s own websites, and global platforms by using a combination of initiatives across product, pricing, marketing, distribution, and brand-building with a technology platform at the core. The process of partnering with Mensa from initiation to execution often closes within 4-8 weeks.

Ananth Narayanan’s new venture Mensa Brands raises $50 m

Commenting on why Mensa has a better chance at taking its portfolio brands global as compared to these brands working towards it individually, Narayanan said, “For a brand to go global, it requires a couple of things, including management bandwidth, as it takes effort and time to crack global partnerships. Because Mensa is a portfolio we are able to do it for all our brands across the portfolio as opposed to doing it one by one. Second, it requires a lot of tech enablement in terms of global logistics, customs, and we have deep global logistics expertise which allows us to actually do this seamlessly. Again, difficult for a single brand to do but easier for a portfolio.”

Mensa claims to be already profitable and intends to use the funding to continue partnering with founding teams of brands and help them become household names. In addition, it will also invest in hiring across functions and continue building out its tech platform and other growth capabilities.

House of brands model

Talking about the growth of the Mensa-like house of brands model in India, Narayanan noted that India is mostly an unbranded market. “I think there will be more and more brands that will emerge independent of whether it is a house of brands or an individual brand. The reason why the house of brands model makes sense is that it is harder to raise capital as a single brand. And therefore, single brands have less capital to invest in growth and technology, among other things.”

Further, Navroz Udwadia, Co-founder and Partner of Alpha Wave Ventures|Falcon Edge Capital said, “Mensa demonstrates a tangible uplift through a combination of product and pricing optimisation, technology-led process improvement, distribution and marketing augmentation and fine-tuning the supply chain. These levers meaningfully accelerate the growth and margin trajectory of the brands and make them well-poised to become category leaders. We believe Mensa is well on track to cement its reputation as the partner of choice for well-performing e-commerce brands.”