Marsplay, the community-led commerce platform, has raised a pre-series A round of funding, led by Venture Highway with participation from Alvin Tse from Xiaomi, Jonathan Lau, Partner, Cadorna Ventures. existing angels including the personal offices of Shailesh Rao, a partner with TPG Growth, and Nikhil Mohta, Director, ICICI Ventures also followed on in this round. Marsplay’s seed round was led by Amit Agrawal, former YouTube India Head, Vivekananda Hallekere, CEO, Bounce, and Shamir Karkal, Founder Simple.com, among others.
Marsplay revolutionizes fashion shopping, by moving it away from catalogues to a personalized, curated, visual feed of fashion trends from your circle of acquaintances and your local community. The community fully captures local and personal aesthetic influences to give users a more relevant shopping experience. What makes Marsplay unique is a shoppers ability to purchase everything you see in your feed with a single tap but more importantly, it ensures that the fashion aesthetic/choices works uniquely for you – essential for the Indian shopper, who prefers local fashion markers to what’s working on Paris or Milan fashion ramps.
“Fashion has always been about social cues, and while social platforms have amped up community interactions, fashion commerce has lagged behind, with a massive gap between discovery and instant purchase. Also, current social platforms seem to be tone-deaf when it comes to local influences – in India, where, as the old saying goes, the fashion language changes every 100km.
We envisioned a platform that provided easy-to-shop fashion advice on ‘What to wear’ and ‘When to wear’ that was crowdsourced from a community passionate about fashion and beauty. We see our relationship with this crucial community as a symbiotic one – not only do we provide them with a platform to build their personal brand, but also one with the tools to monetise their creativity.” shared Misbah Ashraf, Co-Founder Marsplay.
Misbah should know how communities work best – he previously founded a payment company and lead the product growth at Silicon Valley based startups – Pursuit, Toymail (YC W16) and Pulse.qa (YC W18).
“Fashion trends, ideas, and inspirations are often derived from people rather than brands. Social media creators are genuine & relatable people sharing real-life experiences of products that they like or dislike. Consumers look up to their favourite influencers not just for the relatable content but content that aids their buying decisions. At Marsplay, we believe in empowering every single person to be a brand of their own and build the most human way for millennials to shop online.” shared Ayush Shukla, Co-Founder Marsplay. His friend, and collaborator from the last 8 years.
Ayush previously ran a Digital Marketing Company, Co-founded a B2B grocery delivery startup and worked as a Digital Marketing Expert at US-based firm Workwiththecoach.
Marsplay plans to use the funds to build its product engineering team and build a strong creator community. It seeks to employ the long tail of influencers to surface discovery and commerce of interesting fashion beauty products and brands – fulfilling a felt need to stand out, in one’s attire and accessories, in the age of homogenised fast fashion.
“Fashion-led product discovery has been shifting away from eCommerce websites to social networks, however, the discovery to purchase process is still disconnected. More consumers are now seeking inspiration for fashion trends from people who are more relatable than celebrity influencers. In Marsplay, we have found a single platform that provides users with a seamless discovery of fashion trends and the ability to purchase their chosen product with a single click. We are excited to partner with the Marsplay team, as they build out community-driven fashion commerce in India”, said Samir Sood, Founder, of Venture Highway