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Online fashion rental start-up Flyrobe raises $5.3 million

Livemint:  August 31, 2016

New Delhi: Online fashion rental start-up Flyrobe owned by Omapal Technologies Pvt. Ltd has raised $5.3 million in a Series A funding round led by IDG Ventures, with participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital.

Tokyo-based GREE Ventures also participated in this round, the company said.

Flyrobe, founded by Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena in 2015, had earlier raised $1.7 million from Sequoia Capital. Other investors in the firm include Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Freecharge founders Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, and Zishaan Hayath, founder of Toppr.

“With this round of funding, we will continue to scale Flyrobe and grow four-to-five times by March 2017, triple our designer roster to 150 and launch in five more cities,” said Shreya Mishra, co-founder and chief executive at Flyrobe.

The company allows users to rent premium apparel and accessories, and curates apparel and accessories from designers such as Ritu Kumar and Masaba Gupta, among others. Flyrobe currently operates in Mumbai and Delhi and plans to branch out to Hyderabad and Bengaluru in the coming months.

“We are obsessed with delivering the right customer experience. We have custom fitting for ethnic wear, three-hour deliveries in western wear for on-demand fashion needs and ensure perfect hygiene all across. We have recently also partnered with French laundry company 5asec, who are experts in garment care globally,” said co-founder and chief operating officer Pranay Surana.

Flyrobe is one of the 15-odd start-ups that mushroomed in the past 18 months to tap the market for pre-owned branded and designer apparel and renting garments.

Companies such as Share Wardrobe, Elanic, Envoged, Etashee and Stylish Play are marketplaces for pre-owned premium women’s apparel brands, while LibeRent, FlyRobe and SwishList rent premium brands and designer wear.

Several start-ups in this segment have struggled to gain scale, with apparel renting start-up Klozee shutting shop, Mint reported on 13 May.

Even venture capital firms have not placed enough bets on such start-ups in India.

Apart from Flyrobe and Klozee, other start-ups to have received funding are Elanic, Envoged and Zapyle.

This is in sharp contrast to the US and Chinese markets, where investors have poured funds into companies in these sectors.

About 12 online marketplaces in the US, including Poshmark and The RealReal, have raised about $230 million, according to data provided by Tracxn, a firm which tracks start-ups. In the rental space, at least 10 start-ups in the US, including Bag Borrow or Steal and Rent the Runway, have raised about $162 million.

According to industry experts, the renting model works better for high value items. Other than fashion rental, some furniture rental businesses such as Furlenco and RentoMojo have also raised funds from institutional investors.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.