Pankhuri Raises $3.2 Mn Funding Led By Sequoia India's Surge The platform aims to build an inclusive and positive community experience where women in tier-II and tier-III cities in India can safely and actively participate in beauty and lifestyle conversations online

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Pankhuri

Pankhuri, a social community platform for women, on Tuesday announced $3.2 million in funding led by Surge, a rapid scale-up program by Sequoia Capital India for startups in India and Southeast Asia, alongside India Quotient and Taurus Ventures.

Pankhuri is a platform for women in India to network, learn and shop through live streaming, chat, and cohort based sessions, enabling them to be active participants in beauty and lifestyle conversations online instead of being passive consumers.

While there are over 240 million digitally connected women in India, only 27 per cent of social media users in India are women. Many shy away from engaging online due to a lack of confidence and a safe environment, coupled with the rise of online bullying, trolling and harassment.

However, more Indian women are also going on the internet for the first time, with the country adding 15-20 million new users every month. This has led to a rise in female digital consumers who are now accessing content and buying products online. This digital influence has become a game-changer for India's $18 billion beauty market as women are replacing traditional ways of discovery (print and TV ads) with social media and creator driven discovery of products.

"For many women, the thought of going online can be a daunting experience, especially given the rise in online bullying and trolling. Very often, these women also face social barriers which restrict them from pursuing their aspirations and socialising outside of their homes. Pankhuri was created with the ambition to break down these barriers facing millions of women in India, improving their digital literacy and empowering them to regain their right to expression. In building this inclusive online community, we want to provide them with a safe space to fulfil their aspirations, explore, get answers and engage with experts and creators for all things beauty and lifestyle related," said Pankhuri Shrivastava, chief executive officer and founder, Pankhuri.

Pankhuri was founded in 2019 to harness this opportunity by creating a safe, inclusive space for women to engage online. The platform currently provides users with information on topics such as beauty and personal care through various video formats: live and short videos, and encourages ongoing conversation with expert creators through hosted live sessions. Blending entertainment with social commerce, it allows users to browse content and ask questions tailored to their needs while shopping. Pankhuri currently boasts a completion rate of 95 per cent for its live-streamed sessions and has a community of over 250,000 active women of which more than 60 per cent have transacted via micropayments on the platform since January 2021.

"Beauty products and services are one of the first high involvement verticals which will get disrupted. The characteristics of the vertical - high AOV, very sticky users, and curiosity for newer products and trends make high engagement, creator-driven social commerce a promising opportunity. The tremendous traction and love from women for creator-driven content is building up a thriving and sticky community on Pankhuri. I am eagerly looking at this fast evolution of product and community and it seems not very different from magic," added Madhukar Sinha, founding partner, India Quotient.

Pankhuri is backed by India Quotient, Taurus Ventures, and angel investors Farid Ahsan, Krishnan Menon, Kunal Shah, Sai Srinivas and Sweta Rau.

The startup is part of Surge's fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live and learn better in a rapidly evolving post-pandemic world, the company shared.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Related Topics

News and Trends

Travel and Lifestyle Brand Mokobara Raises INR 100 Cr in Series B Led by Peak XV Partners

Bengaluru-based luggage brand Mokobara aims to use the raised funds to expedite retail and global expansions in FY24.

News and Trends

Nvidia Becomes World's Third Largest Company

This positions Nvidia only third behind tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple

Technology

Google's AI Chatbot Gemini Now Available in India

The tech giant has expanded the availability of the app to over 150 countries and territories, including India

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Marketing

The Miley Cyrus Approach To Marketing — Why It's a Radically Different Method For Achieving Brand Impact

In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus recently won her first Grammy. In her acceptance speech, she told a story that is a great learning lesson for business owners and marketers alike, especially those who find themselves burned out and exhausted in this current environment.

Devices

Save $30 on a Bluetooth Smart Projector

Improve your home entertainment center or conference room easily and affordably.