VLCC acquires men's grooming brand Ustraa, expanding into new market segment | Business Upturn

VLCC acquires men’s grooming brand Ustraa, expanding into new market segment

Strategic merger enhances VLCC’s digital commerce capabilities and marks its entry into the thriving men’s grooming industry.

VLCC, a prominent beauty and skincare company in India, has announced its acquisition of Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Limited (Ustraa), a direct-to-consumer men’s grooming brand. The acquisition will be carried out through a combination of secondary buy-out and share swap, according to VLCC. This strategic merger marks VLCC’s entry into the men’s grooming segment and strengthens its capabilities in new-age digital commerce and product innovation.

Ustraa, founded in 2015 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, was one of the pioneers in India’s D2C brand focused on men’s grooming. The brand has achieved significant success, with 67% of its sales coming from the online channel. Offering a wide range of products including fragrances, hair care, face and beard care, Ustraa has garnered a loyal customer base of over 2.2 million users through its dedicated app. The brand is backed by renowned investors such as InfoEdge, 360 One (formerly IIFL Ventures), and Wipro.

By joining forces, VLCC aims to leverage Ustraa’s leading position in the fast-growing men’s grooming market, particularly in the D2C channel. The founders’ expertise in the online D2C ecosystem, encompassing digital marketing, e-commerce, and rapid product innovation, has propelled Ustraa’s rapid growth. VLCC plans to accelerate Ustraa’s journey by utilizing its extensive offline distribution network across India. Simultaneously, Ustraa’s technological and digital expertise will benefit VLCC’s existing product business, facilitating expansion in the new-age commerce landscape.

Vikas Gupta, CEO of VLCC, expressed admiration for Ustraa’s market position and highlighted the founders’ deep understanding of the online D2C space. Gupta stated that VLCC’s entry into the men’s grooming market aligns with the company’s strategy to bolster Ustraa’s growth trajectory while leveraging VLCC’s nationwide offline distribution network. The collaboration is expected to drive faster growth for both brands, combining their expertise in brand building, sales and marketing, and distribution.

Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, the founders of Ustraa, acknowledged VLCC as an ideal strategic partner to enhance their brand’s reach, particularly in offline retail. They emphasized VLCC’s strong management and resources, supported by global investment firm Carlyle, which will facilitate significant brand expansion and product diversification. Anand and Tuli expressed excitement about the merger and the prospects of jointly driving growth as part of the VLCC family.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani of InfoEdge, one of Ustraa’s investors, expressed optimism about the synergies that can be achieved through the merger. Bikhchandani highlighted VLCC’s focused strategy in scaling up their products business through digital channels and high-quality product innovation, aligning with Ustraa’s founding principles.

The acquisition of Ustraa by VLCC represents a strategic move to strengthen both brands’ positions in the beauty and personal care space. With a commitment to constant product innovation and an extensive digital marketing presence, Ustraa aims to deepen its presence in existing categories, expand its offline footprint, and enhance customer retention.

Trilegal and KPMG served as advisors to VLCC during the acquisition, while EY acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Limited and its investors.