Kids and baby products retailer FirstCry seems to be betting heavily on the online-offline hybrid model. The company will be scaling the number of offline stores to reach a total of 100 in the next 12-13 months, a top executive told NextBigWhat.
The company that recently received Rs 92 crore in funding said that they have scaled across 70,000 brands from the 100 they had had in December 2010.
“We were one of the first to start the online-offline model way back in May-June 2011 when we started our first store. We are doing fairly well. We crossed more than 50 stores in 45 different cities, and are now in the process of adding 50 more,” says Supam Maheshwari, co-founder & CEO at FirstCry.
FirstCry founded by Supam Maheshwari, formerly of BrainVisa, had raised funding from Vertex Venture Management and existing investors IDG Ventures and SAIF Partners.
Supam previously headed e-learning technology firm, BrainVisa which had had a successful exit in 2007. FirstCry is his second venture that he hopes to sustain for a longer period.
“I started it (FirstCry) because I love starting from scratch. I love building long, sustainable and sizeable enterprises. This one is going to be a long journey. It hasn’t ended yet. That’s our vision for FirstCry,” he said.
FirstCry was started to help parents get easy access to affordable products. When he found that kids products were inaccessible in most cities of India, especially in Pune where people had to travel 20 kms to find a baby and kids product store, he decided to plug the gap. The fact that Indian baby-care market was pegged at $11.91 billion in 2012 and set to grow at a CAGR of 17% only affirmed Supam’s resolve.
“When we decided to call it a day at BrainVisa, we’d thought we’d focus only on India. Here the retail opportunity is as big as you can think. And most of the e-commerce companies already had horizontals in place so we decided to focus on verticals where we have can solve real tangible problems,” says Supam.
The company had also started a now defunct personal care shopping portal Goodlife which had shut down operations in October last year.
“We wanted to focus on the baby and kids products’ ecosystem. We decided that rather than trying many different things, we should focus only on FirstCry. We were doing very well with Goodlife actually, and it was a very hard call to make,” says Supam, “but we asked ourselves where we wanted to be and what we wanted to be leaders in, in the next 5 years, and that’s how we decided to just focus on FirstCry,” he adds.
FirstCry which currently has over 400 people in its team, also plans to use the round of funding to hire more people.