Flipkart invests in Tendulkar, Kohli-backed fashion co USPL

Flipkart invests in Tendulkar, Kohli-backed fashion co USPL
Photo Credit: Reuters
5 Nov, 2020

Walmart-owned Flipkart Group has made an undisclosed investment in Universal Sportsbiz Private Limited (USPL), which operates fashion brands such as Wrogn and Imara.

Flipkart Group will work closely with the USPL team to deepen product offerings on its platforms as it looks to strengthen its fashion portfolio, according to a statement.

“USPL’s unique brands, backed by celebrity endorsements, have a strong appeal for the young fashion-driven Indian consumer. This investment will help USPL and the Flipkart Group find deeper synergies as we continue on our commitment to grow an ecosystem of partnerships that deliver value for consumers and brands,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group, said.

The investment is part of USPL’s growth round, dubbed as Series F,  in which its existing investor Accel also participated. This investment will help the company significantly step-up its online strategy, the statement added.

In its most recent fundraising, USPL bagged $2.77 million from Kohli and talent management company Cornerstone Sport, according to VCCEdge. Previously, it had raised $13.5 million in its Series E round of funding led by Accel in October 2018 and Alteria Capital Advisors.  Its other investors include NB Ventures, Innoven Capital, and Sachin Tendulkar. The company has raised about $63 million so far.

USPL operates celebrity-endorsed fashion labels such as Wrogn, a men’s casual wear brand co-created with cricketer Virat Kohli; a women’s ethnic fashion brand Imara endorsed by Kareena Kapoor Khan and women’s western wear line Ms.Taken endorsed by Kriti Sanon respectively. Its brands are present on Myntra and also in more than 750 offline retail outlets across 100 cities. The company claims it has been growing at 40-50% year-on-year.

“Post pandemic recovery has been great for us and we are at ~80% of pre-COVID sales. During the time when the world is moving towards omni-channel retailing, we can significantly strengthen our online strategy by working with Flipkart and Myntra, the two prominent players in the Indian online fashion space,” Anjana Reddy, founder and CEO, USPL.

The investment comes shortly after Flipkart agreed to acquire a 7.8% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) which owns lifestyle brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England. Flipkart said it will invest Rs 1,500 into ABFRL

In June, the ecommerce firm invested Rs 260 crore to acquire a significant minority stake in Arvind Youth Brands, a subsidiary of Arvind Fashions that owns the clothing brand Flying Machine. It owns a diversified portfolio of brands, such as US Polo Assn, Arrow, GAP, Calvin Klein, Aeropostale and Ed Hardy.