Mukesh Bansal of Indian fashion e-commerce giant Myntra and fitness platform Cult.fit fame is evaluating a new venture. Even though he hasn’t yet decided on his exact plans for the new offerings — or their sequence — he already has a potential price in mind.
Bansal, who stepped back from conglomerate Tata Digital’s Neu business earlier this year, and Zomato co-founder Mohit Gupta have pitched several investors — including Peak XV, Lightspeed India Partners, Accel and Nexus Venture Partners — in recent weeks, seeking terms that would value the holding company at over $100 million and as high as $250 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
A seed-stage valuation of $100 million would be extraordinary in India’s startup landscape, where most such transactions typically value firms under $10 million. However, some of India’s serial entrepreneurs have bucked this trend. Notably, Kunal Shah, founder of CRED, and Jitendra Gupta, founder of Jupiter, have previously secured seed funding at considerably elevated valuations.
And it appears that Gupta and Bansal are already in advanced stages of finding backers. The duo has told at least two investors that they have already received a soft commitment of about $50 million, people familiar with the matter said, though it’s unclear how much of that commitment will materialize.
Other things that remain unclear — and in this instance, not just to me — is precisely what the duo plans to build.
Bansal and Gupta want to establish a foundry of sorts that would house more than a dozen products over the years. Investors would get a stake in both the parent firm as well as each new product’s holding entity, people who have been pitched by the duo said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly.
Bansal and Gupta were still undecided as of two weeks ago regarding which product they will build first. According to a source involved in the investment discussions, the duo has presented a range of ideas to potential backers. These include a female-focused counterpart to Manyavar, a celebrated ethnic wear brand, and “Infosys 2.0,” a presumed upgrade to the multinational IT services and consulting firm.
Bansal did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Indian news outlet the Arc previously reported some of these details. Bansal earlier said that speculation about his next venture was “completely wrong.” He added: “I continue to be very excited about Cure.fit journey and committed for the long run.”
On a podcast published this month, Bansal suggested that he was thinking about his next steps. “I have been a startup guy all my life. I worked in four startups in Silicon Valley; then I was part of Myntra journey and Cure.fit journey. I have also worked closely with two startups in the last five years — Groww and Skyroot,” he said.
“I keep feeling that tug and I am now thinking how can I do more of that? What are other companies that I can build or co-build with somebody else? And what could be the method to still do it systematically, where you build the strong foundation and you design it for the long term. Hopefully in a few months or by end of the year I will have better clarity on that.”