SoftBank-backed OYO seals third buyout, acquires Weddingz.in
Weddingz.in | August 13, 2018
https://www.vccircle.com/softbank-backed-oyo-seals-third-buyout-acquires-weddingz-in/ Budget hospitality chain OYO has acquired Mumbai-based Weddingz.in, an online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors, for an undisclosed sum, a company statement said. The acquisition will mark OYO’s entry into the fragmented $40-billion wedding industry and will complement the firm’s core offerings, Maninder Gulati, chief strategy officer at the hotel aggregator, said in the statement. “The company has a healthy scale of managing 1,500-plus wedding events per quarter, with an inventory size of over 40 banquets spread across Mumbai and Delhi,” Gulati added. The entire 200-member team of Weddingz.in will become part of OYO, a spokesperson for the budget hotel aggregator said. The deal was a mix of cash and stock, the person added. The acquisition of Weddingz.in marks OYO’s third such buyout this year. Last month, it had bought Mumbai-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology company AblePlus Solutions Pvt. Ltd to bolster its technology portfolio. In March, OYO had acquired its first company, Chennai-headquartered service apartment company Novascotia Boutique Homes. Weddindgz.in Operated by L-Fast Brands Pvt. Ltd, Weddingz.in was launched in January 2015 by Sandeep Lodha. Its technology platform allowed users to find and book wedding planning services at the best prices. It provided wedding venue recommendations and also connected users with wedding service providers such as photographers, makeup and mehendi artists and planners. It started its operations in Mumbai and is now present in more than 12 cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru and Goa. In January last year, VCCircle had reported it had raised nearly $1 million (Rs 6.8 crore) from Singularity Ventures. Existing investor consumer-centric venture fund Sixth Sense Ventures also participated in that round. In February 2016, the company had raised pre-Series A funding from Sixth Sense Ventures. In December 2015, it had raised $1 million in angel funding from a group of investors, including Google India's managing director Rajan Anandan, film-makers Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti and Ruchi Narain, fashion designer Ritu Kumar's son Amrish Kumar, and Ambit Private Wealth CEO Hrishikesh Parandekar. OYO’s expansion drive For OYO, the latest deal comes at a time when it has ventured into new overseas markets including China, where it has a 1,000-strong hotel strong chain. It had launched operations in the country in November 2017. Last month, online media publication Entrackr had reported that OYO had entered London. It had expanded into Malaysia in 2016 and Nepal in 2017. In India, OYO has a hotel chain comprising 100,000 exclusive rooms. Between January and June 2018, OYO’s India operations clocked 17 million booked rooms per night with new launches in cities like Kota, Mathura, Vrindavan, Kolhapur, Bareilly and Thekkady, the company claimed. Multiple media reports in recent times have stated that OYO, which counts SoftBank as one of its main investors, is in the process of raising between $300 million and $800 million, which would value the firm at $2 billion. However, TechCircle could not independently verify this. OYO last secured funds in April 2017, when it raised $250 million (Rs 1,612 crore) in a round led by existing investor SoftBank Group along with the participation of Lightspeed Venture Partners India, Sequoia Capital India and Greenoaks Capital. Media reports had pegged its valuation at $850 million then.
OYO acquires wedding marketplace Weddingz
Weddingz.in | August 11, 2018
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/newsbuzz/oyo-acquires-wedding-marketplace-weddingz/articleshow/65361237.cms Hospitality company OYO has acquired Weddingz, an online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors, in a cash -and-stock deal, making it the SoftBank-backed company’s third buyout in six months. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “We look at supply—whether it’s hotels, homes or banquets— and are always interested in companies that have it and operate in a very similar manner to OYO,” said Maninder Gulati, chief strategy officer at OYO. “The technology and distribution capabilities are the other two critical areas for us when we look at potential acquisitions, and Weddingz fit the bill on all three.” Gurgaon headquartered OYO has acquired a 100% stake in the three-year-old Mumbai-based startup that counts early-stage venture capital firms Singularity Ventures and Sixth Sense Ventures as well as Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan among its backers. Gulati did not disclose the returns earned by the two investment firms post their exits from Weddingz. Weddingz was founded in 2015 by former IITDelhi and Wharton School alum Sandeep Lodha. Gulati said OYO will not rebrand Weddingz and that it has absorbed the company’s entire workforce of about 200 employees. “They have a great presence and brand call. What we want is, other entrepreneurs operating in areas that are of interest to us, to approach us and build and innovate with us,” Gulati said.
Weddingz.in raises undisclosed funding from Sixth Sense Ventures
Weddingz.in | February 9, 2016
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/weddingz-in-raises-undisclosed-funding-from-sixth-sense-ventures/articleshow/50908996.cms Online marketplace for wedding vendors and services, Weddingz.in, has raised an undisclosed sum from consumer-focused venture capital firm Sixth Sense Ventures, the second such funding raised by the company in less than two months. Proceeds from the pre-Series A round will be used by the year-old Mumbai-based startup towards technology and automation and team expansion, according to an official statement issued by the company on Monday. “We are also looking at getting into newer categories like décor, honeymoon packages, and enhance our customers experience by technology development like making virtual tours of venues on the website possible,” said Sandeep Lodha, founder and chief executive of Weddingz.in. The startup, which claims to be the largest warehouse of wedding service providers, had raised about $1 million in angel funding from a group angel investors, led by Ambit Capital in December last year. Weddingz.in allows consumers to check availability and shortlist venues by themselves or get assistance from Weddingz.in relationship managers. They can also book services at guaranteed best prices, as well as destination weddings through the platform. The startup has also tied up with over 150 designer labels, such as Ritu Kumar and Neeta Lulla, as well as with jewellery brands like Gehna Jewellers and Tanishq, the press release said. “Convenience of a one-stop shop for all wedding related services “at the best rates”, makes Weddingz.in an ideal platform for couples.Further sophistication and transparency to all stakeholders, disrupts the way the industry is structured,” said Swati Mehra, partner - Investments at Sixth Sense Ventures. According to Mehra, the VC fund’s investment in Weddingz.in, is the fifth such made by it, having also backed retail chain for luxury watches Ethos, roadside assistance company CrossRoads, hyper-local logistics startup Grab, and oral care company JHS Svendgard Launched by former IDFC Securities Managing Director Nikhil Vora in 2014, Sixth Sense Ventures, which is raising a Rs 250 crore fund has an investment focus on non-infrastructure and non-financial service ventures. Weddings.in is currently in 10 cities across the country, and plans to expand across the top 20 cities in India by the end of 2016, and the top 100 by the end of 2017, the press release said. The company also claims to organise more than 150 weddings every month. “The wedding industry in India is pegged at $40 billion, with 10 million weddings taking place annually. The market is growing at 25% per year. However, it remains to be extremely fragmented with 100,000 vendors in top 20 cities. Weddingz.in aims to fill an obvious gap in the fragmented weddings and events industry – that of finding the right vendor at the right price,” Lodha, who is also a Wharton alumni, said.
Weddingz.in gets pre-Series A funding from Sixth Sense Ventures
Weddingz.in | February 9, 2016
https://www.indiainfoline.com/article/print/general-others-factiva/weddingz-in-raises-pre-series-a-funds-from-sixth-sense-ventures-116020900575_1.html Weddingz.in,India’s largest wedding market placehas raised pre-Series A fund from Sixth Sense Ventures, a consumer-centric fund.Sixth Sense Ventures has previously invested in several successful businesses including Grab, Purplle, Vini Cosmetics, Gowardhan to name a few. Weddingz.in also raised over $1 million in seed capital in December 2015 from a group of angel investors led by Ambit Capital. A Unicorn in the space of Online Wedding Planning in India, Weddingz.in is a one-stop technology-enabled platform that simplifies the process of finding and booking services at the best prices. It aims to fill an obvious gap in the fragmented weddings and events industry – that of finding the right vendor at the right price. With a listing of more than 2000 wedding venues and 2000 wedding vendors across 10 locations in India, it is the largest warehouse of wedding service providers. Presently organizing more than 150 weddings every month, Weddingz.in is the largest wedding company in India and plans to reach out to top 20 cities by the end of 2016 and 100 cities by 2017-end. The company, within one year of its launch, boasts of a 100+ stellar team that includes IIT/IIM/Wharton alumni, all working with the single goal of making dream weddings hassle-free and affordable. Commenting on this, Sandeep Lodha, Founder and CEO, Weddingz.in said,“The wedding industry in India is pegged at US$40bn, with 10m weddings taking place annually. The market is growing at 25% per year. However, it remains to be extremely fragmented with 100K vendors in top 20 cities. Weddingz.in aims to fill an obvious gap in the fragmented weddings and events industry – that of finding the right vendor at the right price. Further with a change in the age at which people are getting married, younger generation is taking control and planning their own weddings. “Convenience” becomes a key factor for these time-starved couples that are looking for a one-stop solution for their entire Wedding needs.He further added, “We will be using these funds for technology/automation and team expansion. We are also looking at getting into newer categories like décor, honeymoon packages etc. and enhance our customers experience by technology development like making virtual tours of venues on website possible”. “Sixth Sense is India’s first “consumer-centric” domestic venture capital. We partner with first generation entrepreneurs’ creating disruption in traditionally large spaces within the Indian consumption landscape. Essentially, we look to back a smart-ass team with a kick-ass product in a big ass market. The first four investments from the fund (Ethos, CrossRoads, Grab, JHS Svendgard) and our earlier personal investments (One97, Parag Milk, Vini Cosmetics, BVG, Infinite Analytics, etc.) reflect our core consumer-centric passion and focus. Weddingz.in is the 5th investment from our Fund”, shared Swati Mehra, Partner, Investments, Sixth Sense Ventures. “At Sixth Sense we believe India is witnessing a wave of sophistication across all consumer centric industries. The change from “unorganized” to “organized”, “loose” to “packed”, “unbranded” to “branded” is evident. Against this backdrop, we believe transformation of the US$40bn Indian Wedding industry is in the coming! With time-starved young couples now at the helm of wedding planning, convenience and sophistication is the need of the hour. Further young couples are becoming the critical decision makers for their weddings, with over 40% of weddings in Tier-I cities being planned by the bride and groom. We see “convenience” as an extremely strong value proposition for these time starved couples. Convenience of a one-stop shop for all wedding related services “at the best rates”, makes Weddingz.in an ideal platform for couples.Further sophistication and transparency to all stakeholders, disrupts the way the industry is structured. While on one hand venues/vendors are facing capacity utilization issues, the consumers are in turn left wanting for a hassle free booking experience for their wedding services. We see Weddingz.in enabling the marriage between vendors and consumers, thereby creating a strong value proposition for itself.” “We see the need for a “credible platform” in the fragmented and unorganized weddings space. Sandeep, a first generation entrepreneur, comes with a strong passion of creating the largest Wedding Company in India. His strong pedigree (Ex-Bain and Disney), solid team and aggression instilled confidence in us. The business model is unique and differentiated in comparison to the other listing platforms. Weddingz.in fits well into Sixth Sense investment thesis of “first generation entrepreneurs” creating disruption in spaces with large potential (US$40bn industry!)”, she further added.
Sixth Sense Ventures Invests in Weddingz.in
Weddingz.in | February 8, 2016
https://www.vccircle.com/exclusive-weddingzin-gets-pre-series-funds-sixth-sense-ventures/ Weddingz.in, an online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors, has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from consumer-centric venture fund Sixth Sense Ventures. The Mumbai-based startup will use the money raised for technology, automation and team expansion. L Fast Brands Pvt Ltd, which runs Weddingz.in, plans to expand its category offerings to include decor, catering and honeymoon packages. Besides weddings, the firm intends to offer services for birthdays and anniversaries. “The company will also use the funds to ramp up its website by offering virtual tours; it is also developing a mobile app,” said founder and CEO Sandeep Lodha. Lodha, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and The Wharton School, started Weddingz.in about 13 months ago. Currently, the firm is present in 10 cities, including Delhi, Bangalore and Goa. The company expects to have operations in 20 cities by 2016-end. “We are growing 35 per cent month on month,” Lodha claims, adding that Weddingz.in facilitated about 100 bookings in December. Weddingz.in provides wedding venue recommendations. It also connects users with wedding service providers such as photographers, makeup and mehendi artists and planners. In November, the startup had raised about $1 million (around Rs 6.7 crore) in angel funding from a group of investors, including Google India’s managing director Rajan Anandan. A bunch of startups that seek to connect couples with wedding planners has emerged in the last 12 months. The market for wedding-related services is estimated to be worth $40 billion in India, according to US-based venture capital firm CerraCap Ventures. Some of these ventures have also secured external funding. In December 2015, CerraCap invested in NDTV’s online wedding and festival planning portal Special Occasions Ltd. In September, wedding planning portal WedMeGood raised seed funding worth Rs 2.7 crore ($407,200) from Indian Angel Network. Others in the Indian online wedding planning space include WeddingPlz, PlanningWale and FullOnShaadi. Sixth Sense Ventures was founded in 2013 by Nikhil Vora, formerly managing director and co-head of research at IDFC Securities. It recently invested in oral care products company JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Pvt Ltd.