The Busy Brains
11 Jun 2023
VLCC, the premium beauty and skincare brand, has acquired Ustraa, a leading men's grooming brand in India. Learn about the strategic partnership, Ustraa's online presence, and VLCC's plans to expand its offline distribution. Find out how this acquisition strengthens both brands and their growth prospects.
VLCC, the renowned beauty and skincare brand, has made a significant acquisition by acquiring Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Limited (Ustraa) through a combination of secondary buy-out and share swap. This strategic partnership allows VLCC to expand its presence in the men's grooming market while providing Ustraa with resources and expertise to further accelerate its growth.
Ustraa, founded in 2015 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, was one of the pioneering direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands focused on men's grooming in India. The company's statement reveals that a significant portion of Ustraa's sales, approximately 67%, comes from online channels. With a wide range of products including fragrances, hair care, face, and beard care, Ustraa has successfully attracted over 2.2 million customers through its own app. The brand has gained support from notable investors such as InfoEdge, 360 One (formerly IIFL Ventures), and Wipro.
Ustraa has established a strong presence in the men's grooming market with its exclusive range of 85+ SKUs catering specifically to men. The brand enjoys significant online visibility and is also expanding its offline presence through assisted beauty counters, supported by a dedicated sales team of over 600 professionals.
Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Founders of Ustraa, express their enthusiasm for the partnership with VLCC, emphasizing the potential to broaden their customer reach, particularly in offline retail. They believe that VLCC's management expertise, along with the backing of Carlyle globally, will provide the necessary resources and sector knowledge to fuel their brand's growth and expand their product range. The founders are confident that the combined strengths in brand building, sales, marketing, and distribution will result in accelerated growth for both Ustraa and VLCC.
"VLCC represents a perfect strategic partner to help us broaden our customer reach, especially in offline retail. VLCC's strong management, well supported by Carlyle globally, brings the resources and sector expertise, which can enable us to significantly grow our brand further and expand the range of products. We believe our combined expertise in brand building, sales and marketing and distribution will create faster growth for both brands and we are excited to embark on the journey forward as part of the VLCC family," said Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Founders of Ustraa.
Vikas Gupta, CEO of VLCC, acknowledges Ustraa's prominent position in the rapidly growing men's grooming market, particularly in the D2C channel. He commends the founders' deep understanding of the online D2C ecosystem, including digital marketing, e-commerce, and agile product innovation, which has driven Ustraa's impressive growth within a short span of time. VLCC's acquisition of Ustraa signifies its entry into the men's grooming market and aims to propel Ustraa's growth journey by leveraging VLCC's extensive offline distribution network throughout India. Furthermore, VLCC's existing product business will benefit from Ustraa's technological and digital expertise, enabling it to thrive in the new age of commerce.
Vikas Gupta, CEO, VLCC, said, "We are impressed with Ustraa's leading position in fast-growing men's grooming market, especially the D2C channel. Both founders have a deep understanding of the online D2C ecosystem including digital marketing, ecommerce and fast product innovation cycle which has enabled them to scale Ustraa in a short period of time. This acquisition marks VLCC's foray into men's grooming market and our aim is to accelerate Ustraa's growth journey by leveraging VLCC's pan-India offline distribution. In parallel, VLCC's existing product business will benefit from Ustraa's tech and digital expertise to scale up in new age commerce."
The acquisition was advised by Trilegal and KPMG on behalf of VLCC, while EY acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Limited (HUMPL) and its investors. This partnership sets the stage for exciting developments and growth opportunities for both VLCC and Ustraa in the men's grooming market.