Franchise News India: Online baby care portal First-Cry.com has received funding of Rs 92 crore in what is the largest investment in an ecommerce company selling just one category of products. The equity investment was led by Vertex Venture Management, a subsidiary of Singapore’s state-run investment company Temasek Holdings. Existing investors in the company IDG Ventures India and Saif Partners also participated in this third round of funding.
FirstCry, which is owned by Brainbees Solutions and is based in Pune, will use the money to double its network of brick and-mortar stores and hire more people for its online retail and mobile commerce services. Vertex has backed a similar hybrid model earlier in India, when it invested in Gurgaon-based GreenDust which retails refurbished electronic goods both online and in stores on the ground.
Supam Maheshwari, 40, chief executive of Brainbees Maheshwari and co-founder Amitava Saha set up FirstCry in December 2010.
Maheshwari, an IIM-Ahmedabad graduate, sold his e-learning company Brainvisa Technologies to Indecomm Global Services for about $25 million in 2007. Saha, from IIM-Lucknow, led sales and business operations at Brainvisa.
FirstCry’s main rival is BabyOye. com, backed by Accel Partners and Tiger Global. Last April, Baby Oye acquired Bangalore-based Hoopos. Another firm, Hushbabies that started in 2009, closed down last year.
FirstCry, which has tied up with 500 brands, offers over 70,000 products for children up to the age of 15 years. It also has 50 branded franchisee stores across 45 cities and expects to grow this network to 100 stores.
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