For the Brave Young Optimistic, mCaffeine as a brand is positioned as a gender-neutral brand for emerging and shifting millennials aged 20 to 28. MCaffeine believes there is no color or gender in beauty, it’s all about well-being. With caffeine in the heart, the products of mCaffeine are meant to offer you the best in skin and hair care. They agree that everyone needs skincare, haircare, and, most importantly, self-care. The brand’s pledge to the world is that creams of justice will never be sold. The brand represents the millennial ethos with core values of the clean label (natural as a choice), why hurt (no animal testing), trust over color (do not market goods of weakness or fairness).
On its own e-commerce site, www.mcaffeine.com, and all major shopping portals, including Amazon, Nykaa, and Flipkart, mCaffeine goods are available. In the Indian beauty world, their products are already gaining cult status. A favorite of the group, mCaffeine’s Coffee Body Scrub has recently won the ‘Best Scrub’ category in the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards and Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards.
Following 9 months of comprehensive research, mCaffeine was founded in October 2016 by Vikas Lachhwani and Tarun Sharma. Research has shown that caffeine is actually a superfood-a rich source of antioxidants and has many skin and hair benefits. Caffeine has thus been the main ingredient of many of its products. In its portfolio, mCaffeine has 20 items throughout three main categories-Skin Care, Hair Care, and Body Care.
mCaffeine has seen some early success, serving half a million customers and aiming for 2019 sales of almost Rs 100 crore. But it was not easy; there were many hurdles facing Lachhwani and co-founder Tarun Sharma.
For a while now, Lachhwani and Sharma have become part of the start-up ecosystem. The former worked at self-drive car rental firm Zoomcar as a senior VP of operations and development, while the latter headed the food delivery chain Box8 company. During informal discussions around the personal care room, the seeds of mCaffeine were sown.
The greatest challenge was to turn a concept into a commodity that is capital intensive in an industry. As a startup, mCaffeine wanted to be a light asset and could not invest in infrastructure growth. This is where the experience of Lachhwani and Sharma working in startups helped. They raised money from family and friends, approached testing laboratories to test products, outsourced development, and planned to launch the products using existing platforms like Amazon and Nykaa.
They came up with an online-only, caffeine-based personal care brand after nine months of battle, with two items each in hair care, skincare, and bath and body segments. In the first month, mCaffeine didn’t even record Rs 1 lakh in sales, but the co-founders remained committed to the concept and the products began to gain popularity gradually. Targeted marketing played a role in the turnaround when the company persuaded customers that its offerings were focused on tea, coffee, and chocolate, their favorite interests.
The firm is signing a deal with a large supermarket chain of personal care products that will give them access to 200 touch points. Today, sales of the brand are totally online. “If the brand expresses a certain ethos, we already find that the customers are ready to explore and come back to buy a product,” says Tarun.
The company’s warehouse handles pan-India distribution in Bhiwandi, a town outside of Mumbai. But the firm assumes volumes will be generated with the opening of offline networks. They invested close to Rs 1 crore in the firm, but many retail and technology industry angels such as Krishna Mehra and Harminder Sahni invested in the company thanks to their connexions. In 2016, Rs 2 crore was raised by MCaffeine as seed money.
Yesterday, in a Series B funding round, mcaffeine raised INR 42 cr from an investor group led by Amicus Capital along with RPSG Ventures and its established investors, Telama Investments.
This is the third round of funding so far received by the firm. Amicus Capital and RPSG Ventures have made a lot of the investment. The company last raised funds in June 2019, when it received $2 million from a group of investors led by RPSG Ventures in a Series A round of investment.
“Tarun Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, mCaffeine, commenting on the rapid pace of growth, said,” We had three term sheets in this round and chose Amicus Capital as we loved the fund’s long-term, product-focused approach. As we develop mCaffeine from an Rs.100 cr to a 500 cr brand in the next three years, we are extremely happy to have them alongside us. mCaffeine is a brand based on millennial India that is digital-first. All products of mCaffeine are planned, manufactured, designed, and processed in India. We trust highly in ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for local’ to support home-grown businesses. After thorough Research & Development, the goods are produced. In the context of a clean label, we represent the millennial ideology of “natural first.” We see product creation as an exercise to meet modern lifestyle needs.