IMbesharam (NSFW), an adult products store, has raised Series A funding worth $4 million from US based investors Pavel Vassiliev and Rafiq Hirani, reports VCCircle (paywall). The company will launch a US store, 4 warehouses in India, hire employees in India and the US and launch a responsive website this year with the funding. It also plans to use $1 million for a marketing campaign, according to the report.
The company was founded by Salim Rajan and Raj Armani in 2011 and claims to have 120 international brands (and 4,000 SKUs) across apparel, adult toys, jewelry, accessories, cosmetics and gift cards for both men and women. IMBesharam explains why it chose the name on its website, “..We believe we all are Besharam, whether we like to accept it is another story… Because we want to educate people about sex, give them tools to enjoy it in their privacy and comfort and lastly because India is ready…” Bonus, it has Sunny Leone (who, IMO, is a good journalist; context) as an ambassador of sorts.
An iamwire report states that IMBesharam sources its products from brands and suppliers in the US, adding that the company, in 2015, had a GMV of Rs 29 crore, got 78,000 orders and 2 million visitors. It also has a handy import restrictions tool where users can check if their country or region falls under one. As to whether it is legal to sell adult toys in India (another interesting article here), we’ll let the company answer:
As a country, India is not known to take kindly to sex as a subject. Points in case:
– In May, ecommerce player Flipkart pulled the plug on its sexual wellness section and discontinued the sale of products in that category. It had started the sexual wellness section earlier in July 2014, and said that it was Rs 1,000 crore category growing in double digits.
– In April, Maharashtra FDA raided Snapdeal’s Mumbai office after being alerted that the online marketplace was selling Viagra and Ascoril without prescriptions.
– In February, a Delhi-based lawyer filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against Snapdeal and Ohmysecrets for selling vibrators and some other products that were apparently in violation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, along with other acts such as section 292, 292 A, 293 and 294 which prohibit obscenity in public.
– In January last year, the Telangana government sought to block Flipkart and three other sites including Imbesharam, Thatspersonal and Ohmysecrets for “objectionable content”. At that time, Ohmysecrets, which sold sexual wellness products, was shut down.
Image Credit: Lucarelli under public domain