Update: This has now been confirmed, in a story by the Economic Times.
Jan 14th 2013: BrainBees Solutions Pvt Ltd which operates the online baby care products retailer FirstCry has raised $15 million from Temasek’s investment arm Vertex Venture Holdings with participation from existing investors SAIF Partners and IDG Ventures, reports TechCircle citing a source. This follows another source-based Times Of India report last week which had suggested that the company was close to raising $15 million from Vertex Venture Holding.
We had tried contacting FirstCry co-founder and CEO Supam Maheshwari for a confirmation last week and earlier today but are yet to receive a response. We have also contacted Vertex Venture Holding for a confirmation and will update once we hear back.
Excluding the current round, FirstCry had raised a total $18 million investment investment until now – a $14 million Series B funding from IDG Ventures & SAIF Partners in Feb 2012 and a $4 million funding from SAIF partners in April 2011.
Strengthening Its Offline Franchisee Stores
The TOI report says the company plans to use the investment to aggressively step up its offline network of 15 franchisee stores, although when we checked it seems to have more than 50 franchisee stores across cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Karnal, Udaipur, Patna, Ranchi and others.
Pune-based FirstCry offers baby care and kids products like diapers, toys, clothing, bath, skin & healthcare products, footwear, baby furniture, books and others. It claims to have more than 70,000 products from more than 400 Indian and International brands like Mattel, Ben10, Pigeon, Funskool, Hotwheels, Nuby, Farlin, Medela, Pampers, Disney, Barbie, Gerber, Fisher Price and others. Last August 2013, it had launched a subscription service to offer subscriptions on products like baby diapers.
FirstCry had also launched a personal care e-commerce venture called GoodLife.com in February 2012, through which it offered products across categories like makeup, fragrances, skincare, bath & body, hair care, men’s range, natural & organic and health & nutrition. However, it had stopped taking orders in October 2013 and had gone blank in the following month, indicating that the site was probably shut.
Competitors: FirstCry competes with Babyoye which has investors like Helion Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Tiger Global and had acquired Hoopos last April. There was also Hushbabies.com which was shut by Lapis Marketing last October to focus on its consumer marketing venture BabyBox.in. Mahindra Retail, which operates the mother and child care products-focused retail chain Mom & Me had also launched an online shop momandmeshop.in in December 2011.