Myntra.com is a leading Indian online retailer of lifestyle and fashion products.
A Computer Science graduate from IIT Kanpur, Mukesh began his career by working for Deloitte Consulting in the US in 1997. A part of him always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and he soon realized that his experience in Deloitte was not helping him gather the skills required to start a venture. So he quit in 1999 and in the next seven years worked for four startups: Nextag and Newscale in customer space and Ewanted and Centracta in enterprise software. In his last two jobs at Centracta and Newscale, he often traveled to India. The country had changed phenomenally from the time he had left as a fresh graduate, and he began to see the emerging opportunities in the country. So he returned to India in September 2006 to start his own venture.
A brainstorming session with friends in Bangalore saw tons of business ideas flying – from mobile technologies to social networking – but it was the idea of personalized shopping that stuck.It perhaps had something to do with his mindset as a shopper. Through Myntra’s online portal, customers can select from the selective ‘personalizable’ products – like t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, calendars, watches, teddy bears, pendants and jigsaw puzzles – and create their own designs or select from the online design library for it.
In mid-2006, there were no large companies with good funding in this niche space of on-demand personalization in the country. However, US companies like Zazzale and Cafepress had built success stories around this idea, and Mukesh closely followed their strategy. Initially, Mukesh assumed his target customers to be individuals who will go the extra way and pay the extra money to personalize their products. Few months after launching the online portal, he was forced to change strategy to accommodate the growing demand from groups too.
Mukesh strategically placed Myntra to take on the demand for mass personalization, coming from project teams for their milestone celebrations, farewells and fan clubs. Corporate gifting players wanted volume but team level requirements were not that much. Some kiosks and small stores provided personalized gifting options but they required in-person communication which was inconvenient.
They developed products relevant to the group. An easy-to-use online interface allowed customers to choose products and create designs on their own or use the design library. Customer support team ensured timely delivery and a pleasant customer experience. Myntra’s trump card is the strong community of designers from whom they source over 10,000 products and designs. They decided to attract freelancers through online marketing, alumni networks and design contests rather than hire our own team. Each time a design sells, the designer gets royalty. Additionally, they give away prizes worth Rs 25,000 every month for the best designs, which also helps in viral marketing.
Mukesh was planned for his start-up well in advance, saving money during his years in the US to fund his enterprise. He began by investing Rs 30 lakh and later received funding from Erasmic, an early stage funding company and four angel investors.
Mukesh’s best experience in Myntra was when his founding team of six came together. Vineet Saxena and Ashutosh Lawania were his juniors from IIT Kanpur, Rahul Agrawal was an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, Sankar Bora was from REC Calicut and Raveen Sastry was a graduate of McGill University, Canada. Four of them had prior startup experience.
Myntra is growing at a rate of 30% month-on-month, with over 12,000 items shipped every month. Over 100,000 people have used Myntra products in the last 12 months. The company is partnered with large websites including ibibo.com, bigadda.com, indyarocks.com, chakpak.com and holidayiq.com to drive traffic.
In November 2012, Myntra has acquired SherSingh.com and Exclusively.in. Sher Singh(founded by Sunjay Guleria (Haas School of Business-1999; Stern School of Business-1992) and Sonny Caberwal (Georgetown University Law Center -2004; Duke University-2001) was launched in 2011 by Exclusively.in Inc, an ethnic wear focused e-commerce portal (Exclusively.in) targeting the US and UK markets but also ships to India. SherSingh and Exclusively had raised funds from Helion Veture Partners, Accel Partners, Tiger Global and Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan.
In April 2013, San Francisco based ‘FITIQUETTE’, a developer of virtual fitting room technology was acquired by Myntra to provide a better virtual solution to its online users – finding the right fit and size. ‘FITIQUETTE’ was founded by Andy Pandharikar (Stanford University -M.S ; Amravati University – B.E ) and Anant Kumar to solve size and fit issues for online shoppers. The virtual dressing room developed by FITIQUETTE generates a virtual mannequin based on various body types to which users can adjust each specific measurement according to their body until it closely mirrors their own. The technology enabled online shoppers to virtually ‘try before they buy’.
In November 2013, Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan joined forces with online shopping portal Myntra.com to exclusively launch and manufacture his active lifestyle apparel and casual wear brand HRX. Billionaire and philanthropist Azim Premji’s investment firm PremjiInvest is likely to lead a $50 mn funding round in e-commerce company Myntra, according to one report. Well known VCs like Accel Partners and Tiger Global has already invested in Myntra.com . In May 2014, Flipkart acquired online fashion retailer Myntra in an estimated Rs 2,000 crore deal. It is India’s largest e-commerce deal.
The main competitors of Myntra are jabong, zovi, inkfruit etc.