Stride Ventures, one of India’s leading venture debt funds, has led a debt round of US $2 million in SUGAR Cosmetics – a rapidly-growing colour cosmetics brand with a cult following amongst Gen Z and millennials. The fund has partnered with one of India’s leading private banks for this deal and is committed to being a strategic partner in SUGAR’s growth journey with their customized offerings and deep relationships across banks and corporates.
This is Stride Ventures’ tenth investment from its maiden fund and marks its first foray into the lifestyle segment. The investment in SUGAR reinforces Stride’s continuing preference for homegrown startups that have shown strong company fundamentals. Apart from a ~6X jump in revenues in 2 years, SUGAR’s hybrid approach, with a robust online as well as offline presence across 2,400 outlets in over 130 cities and strong brand loyalty makes it an attractive proposition.
With the brand bouncing back past its pre-COVID peak, these funds will be strategically deployed to keep pace with working capital and inventory requirements and fuel aggressive growth through the peak sales season.
Launched in 2015 by IIM-Ahmedabad graduates Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee, the brand is a cruelty-free and content-led beauty brand that targets the younger Indian demographic through its range of affordable premium products. In FY20, the company clocked net revenues of INR 105 Crore. Their offerings range from make-up products specially-suited for Indian skin tones to everyday skincare products that are easy to use.
On the funding, Ishpreet Gandhi, Founder and Managing Partner, Stride Ventures, said, “In a fiercely competitive landscape, SUGAR has managed to stand apart in a short span of time. Their branding, market strategy and offering of affordable premium products greatly appeal to the growing younger demographic. The brand has quickly become a household name in the lifestyle segment and we are excited to partner with them in their journey.”
Vineeta Singh, Co-founder and CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics, added, “SUGAR plays in a high gross margin category which makes debt a fantastic choice for us. With superior product-market fit and long-term growth appetite, we are excited about working with with Stride and their partner private bank and announce US $2M as the first tranche of the Series C funding that we hope to close later this year.”
Since its inception, Stride Ventures has focused on investing in market leaders across sectors. Stride Ventures launched its maiden fund in 2019 and plans to invest in 25-30 startups for Stride Venture India Fund I.