Home-grown FMCG major Emami Ltd has infused a second tranche of funding into men grooming start-up, The Man Company.

The Kolkata-based company currently has a 20-odd per cent stake in the Helios Lifestyle-owned start-up. Post fund infusion, Emami’s stake rises to 30 per cent.

Emami, which is amongst the largest investors in The Man Company, had in 2017 announced a strategic investment in the start-up. The fund infusion was to happen in two parts. Sources say, Emami also has a scope of taking majority stake, but, there are no immediate plans in this regard.

According to Hitesh Dhingra, Founder and MD, The Man Company, the second part of the infusion has already come in. “We received the first tranche around a year-back and the second tranche has come in,” he told BusinessLine.

An Emami spokesperson also confirmed the fund infusion, in line with its commitment.

The Man Company has a monthly turnover of ₹4 crore (projected turnover of ₹46-48 crore at the end of this fiscal). The start-up is expected to break-even “in another 14 months”.

According to Dhingra, some of the channels that The Man Company operates in are already profitable. However, the recent foray into new channels — primarily offline ones — will take sometime to turn profitable.

“Existing channels (like online) are unit economics positive already. But in another 14 months, we should be profitable at a company-level,” he said.

Offline foray

Like most men grooming start-ups, The Man Company began as an online-only brand focussing on the mass-premium to premium segments. However, overtime it started to foray offline through shop-in-shop formats and exclusive brand outlets (EBOs). It has also been selling to salon chains and retailing its offerings through them.

It has three EBOs at present, being run on a pilot basis in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Delhi. With “good customer response coming in,” plans are afoot to open more such brand outlets.

In fact, the start-up is also looking to ramp-up its presence in Tier-2 and -3 towns from where it has witnessed good demand.

The average selling price (across the company’s website) has been at ₹900; while through other online channels it has been at ₹350-400, Dhingra said.

“We are open to corporate tie-ups and also experiential marketing by having counters in corporate offices. We want to get into the right channels,” he said.

The Man Company is amongst the few niche men grooming start-ups that and competes with the likes of Beardo, Ustraa and the Bombay Shaving Company.

The ₹16,000-crore men-grooming market has primarily been dominated by shaving solutions and deodorants. These start-ups have been trying to push through specific niche offerings like beard and moustache grooming solutions and skin care offerings.