Scentials Beauty Care and Wellness Pvt. Ltd, a beauty brand co-founded by former tennis professional Mahesh Bhupathi, on Monday said it has raised ₹25 crore in a Series A round from Unilever Ventures, the startup investment arm of consumer goods giant Unilever Plc.
Scentials, co-founded by Jinesh Mehta and Bhupathi in 2017, launched Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s’ one8 brand of fragrances in January this year, followed by the Arias brand of skin-care products with actor and Bhupathi’s wife, Lara Dutta.
The company designs, develops, manufactures and distributes products through multiple brands across fragrances, skin-care, makeup and men’s grooming verticals, shaped by the vision and personalities of various Indian celebrities.
The startup plans to use the funds to ramp up its distribution and marketing platform, Bhupathi said in a phone interview on Monday. “We are already present in 40,000 outlets offline. We look sorted on the product side, with some very credible dermatologists, and will hire people for marketing, digital distribution and on the ground.”
The startup has a team of 20 people, and his hiring 3-5 people every month. The funds will be enough for the current year, when Scentials also plans to launch a colour makeup brand by September.
“Scentials is building a unique beauty brands studio platform that combines fast paced innovations across beauty categories with endorsements from top tier Indian celebrities in sports, films and entertainment. The celebrity partnerships provide massive traditional and social media reach driving brand salience. We look forward to supporting Scentials in their growth journey,” said Pawan Chaturvedi, investment director, Unilever Ventures, in a statement.
Unilever Ventures India made its first investment in late 2017 in Peel-Works, a consumer-based big data analytics company. Peel-Works helps retailers drive higher shopper loyalty, optimise their store assortments and inventory levels. It had also invested $10 million in fellow venture capital firm Chiratae Ventures, formerly IDG Ventures, besides backing Plum Skincare and grocery delivery startup Milkbasket.
A slew of beauty and wellness startups catering to niche, as well as broader markets, are witnessing increasing investor interest. These include online beauty retailers Nykaa and Purplle, and The Ayurveda Experience and Bombay Shaving Co.