Mumbai-based CoutLoot, a C2C fashion re-commerce platform, has announced that it recently received an investment of USD 1 million as a part of its ongoing pre-series A funding round. Jadevalue Fintech, the investment arm of Chinese unicorn CashBUS led the investment round, which also saw the participation of existing investors Artha India Ventures (investor in OYO rooms, Tala, Exotel amongst others) as well as Venture Catalysts, India’s first and largest integrated incubator.

The C2C category has registered a robust expansion in India and CoutLoot’s individual growth in the domain has been unparalleled. From a selling-only platform operating in Mumbai, CoutLoot has extended its operations across 14 cities and achieved more than 5,00,000+ app downloads. One of its unique features, ‘Celebrity Closet’ wherein it has established exclusive partnerships with leading celebrities to sell items from their own personal closets, has also received an overwhelming response from its users. A few of the TV celebs that sell on CoutLoot include Karishma Tanna, Aditi Bhatia, Niti Taylor, Aarti Chabbria amongst others.

Considering its massive popularity, Jadevalue Fintech’s investment in CoutLoot is being identified as a strategic move by the firm to enter the high-potential Indian market. Being supported by the investment arm of Shanghai-based microfinance giant CashBUS, one of the biggest success stories of the Chinese start-up ecosphere, further validates this stand. Commenting on the investment, Johan Uddman, General Manager, Jadevalue Fintech said, ““We believe that a technology driven re-commerce marketplace in India for the mass market creates value for all parties involved, including sellers, buyers and the society at large. By having a customer centric approach and building strong proprietary technology, CoutLoot creates a seamless and engaging customer experience, removing many of the barriers often encountered on the more traditional platforms. The young team only adds to the element of growth and aggressive approach to the segment”

Incidentally, Jadevalue Fintech has lately focused on building deeper ties with Indian early stage start-ups aiming to create superior products and services utilizing technology with the mass market in focus and not just serving the top 5% of the population.

Describing CoutLoot’s rapid growth as a premier C2C marketplace, existing investor Anirudh Damani, MD, Artha India Ventures said "CoutLoot's growing footprint is nothing short of revolutionary. It has built a strong bridge of trust and quality experience with consumers to an extent that their buyers are now becoming their sellers and vice versa. This is a significant moment in Indian e-commerce, and we hope other global investors and venture capital networks sit up and take notice of the amazing revenue opportunities offered by the Indian market."

Elaborating on the fund allocation blueprint, CoutLoot Co-Founder Mahima Kaul said, “With CoutLoot we've established a seamless model for C2C fashion which has captured the imagination of our audiences very fast. We are aiming for aggressive and comprehensive expansion and with this funding boost; we'll aim to expand our footprint not only in terms of geography but by diversifying our operations into other categories within the C2C model as well. The aspiration value in India is increasing and the circular economy model compliments it really well, times will only get exciting with the next set of 500 million users coming online in the years to follow, we’re focused on building a mass market business for the millennials.”

Commenting on the growing focus of global investors on such segments, and the Indian start-up ecosphere in general, Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder and President, Venture Catalysts said, “Indian start-ups have emerged as highly attractive avenues for global investors considering the scope offered by the home market, which is far from reaching its point of saturation, as experienced by the European markets. The shared/circular economy model is catching the trend here, and the country has responded well to evolving future market relationships such as C2C and P2P business structures. Although they are still at a nascent stage, the growth of Indian start-ups following such models has significantly contributed to India’s fast emergence as a global investment hotspot, and we hope to continue facilitating this inflow of global resources, technology, ideas and skills towards the strengthening of India’s start-up ecosphere.”

Apart from its app & website channel, CoutLoot also has an on-ground channel called "Pop up shops", which is a thrift shop concept that the startup has been piloting for a while. Although still at a nascent stage, alternate and evolving market relationships such as C2C and P2P business structures are fast catching the trend here. The growth of Indian start-ups following such models has significantly contributed to India’s fast emergence as a global investment hotspot, and the focus of global investment giants towards successful Indian start-ups, such as CoutLoot, will contribute significantly to enhance the inflow of global resources, technology, ideas and skills towards the strengthening of India’s flourishing start-up ecosphere.

CoutLoot is also backed by Facebook as the part of the FBstart program, this is the second round of funding for the startup which is leading the revolution of the C2C fashion category in India. Prior to this, Coutloot had bagged funding from Venture Catalysts, in June 2016, followed by another funding, in July same year, from Redcliffe Capital and Artha India Ventures and Angels like Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, president, Venture Catalysts and Siddharth Kothari of Om Kothari Group among others.

In 2016, despite the sad funding scenario of the industry currently, the startups catering to fashion are attracting lucrative investments and thriving like no other sector. The first half of the year 2016 saw several Indian fashion startups raising funds. The month of May'16 alone saw a number of fashion startups getting funded that included Roposo, Coutloot, Shopwati, 6Degree, Blinge and Hoppingo. The investors list included various high-profile names such as IAN, Venture Catalysts, Ankit Nagori, ex-Flipkart CBO and others. [Read More Here]

Notably, the Indian retail lifestyle business is pegged at an approx $70 billion, of which only 1-2 percent is online.

Last September, online-to-offline fashion store discovery & loyalty app, Fashalot raised pre-Series A funding from Capillary Technologies, a homegrown omni-channel and customer engagement platform. In the same month, global e-commerce giant Amazon unveiled its largest standalone Fashion Imaging Studio called BLINK in India in order to support its flourishing fashion business in the country. Additionally, Gurgaon-based fashion social network Roposo got included as a case study on the reputed Harvard Business Publishing platform. The study focuses on how the fashion social network has matured from being a discovery platform to an ultimate lifestyle social network for Indian consumers.

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