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What Made This Fashion Marketplace To Acqui-Hired These 3 Startups With acqui-hiring, this eCommerce venture also plans to launch a marketplace for designers & boutiques.

By Ritu Kochar

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Vilara

Deciding what to wear in the morning is the woe of every working woman. It's not just about choosing an outfit; it's more about who you're going to be today. And if only, you had a designer to help you.

Fashion marketplace, Voonik has a solution for this. Foraying into the premium eCommerce segment, Voonik has acquired three fashion startups to launch a one-stop place to shop from thousands of premium boutiques and independent designers called Vilara.com

Focused on women fashion, Voonik wishes to expand its platform, which already had 8 million app downloads and 10 million registered users. For this, this they have acqui-hired Zohraa, Styl and Picksilk. Where Zohraa will bring designers and boutiques to the newly formed marketplace, Styl and Picksilk will strengthen its core offerings in technology and product.

Talking about this marketplace, CEO of Voonik, Sujayath Ali said, "We are very excited about Vilara and the idea of bringing over 1000 boutiques in one place. We have been able to acqui-hire a talented bunch of entrepreneurs, with the right expertise to help us strengthen the Vilara offering."

How these startups will help Voonik grow

All three acqui-hires are a part of a well thought out strategy by Ali of acquiring a large share of the premium designer and boutique segment. "Every big city in the country boasts of a few unique boutiques that have a loyal customer following. But there is no online platform where the customers can buy from these exquisite shopping destinations spread across the country. We have built a platform within a short time that has suddenly made all the boutiques and designers, accessible to everyone," Ali told `Entrepreneur.

Zoharra founded by Sanjeev Jain (CEO), PramodRathi (COO), VibhorTikiya (CXO) and DarshitHirani (CTO in 2012, has been positioned as an online occasion-wear brand with a high emphasis on curation and sells ethnic wear and designer wear products. Ali added how the founders of Zohraa will bring a rich experience of creating a premium marketplace to Voonik. "We got access to a premium supplier network and a passionate team," he added.

Vibhor Tikiya said excitedly, "We are passionate about the premium ecommerce segment. With the scale up experience of Voonik, Vilara is all set to become the shopping destination for premium products within a short time."

The next startup is Picksilk which is also India's biggest online silk store with 10,000+ handloom saree collection. Founded by college friends Shivakumar Kancharla and Hareesh Vemala, Picksilk empowers weavers through technology and transform the industry by making it more demand oriented. The manufacturing is mapped to suit the actual customers' choices rather than to the weavers' convenience and resources.

"With Picksilk on board, we now have access to a highly coveted silk weaver community," Ali said

Shiv Kancharla shared how joining Vilara will help in fulfilling their dream of bringing joy to every woman through a pure silk saree. He added, "We built a company to connect under represented and technologically backward, handloom sector to a huge base of women who love silk sarees."

The third and last startup Voonik has acqui-hired is Styl, a technologically advanced salon and spa booking App founded by Anup Mohan and SrikantCh. Providing Vilara with the technology to thrive, Styl team gave the immediate impetus to the Vilara App development. Ali shared how with Styl's help they got to market with both web and app within a record time.

These acquisitions will help Voonik make backward and forward linkages and get a significant advantage in penetrating the segment of premium consumers who are willing to pay for high quality, unique lifestyle products.

Plans for future

Talking to Entrepreneur, Ali said, "We are staying true to our vision of becoming the biggest online fashion company in the country. With Voonik and Mr Voonik we have addressed a key customer need- looking good or fashionable every day."

With Vilara, Voonik and team will look to dominate the premium customer segment with designer wear, wedding wear and occasion wear collections. They have brought together 1000 boutiques and designers on a marketplace model. "This platform will give emerging designers and standalone boutiques access to a large online consumer base. In a broader sense, Vilara will be a unique destination for anyone who has an individual sense of style, and wants to buy something special," Ali said.

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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