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Why Naturals re-branded Yuvraj Singh-backed beauty startup Vyomo Here is how Vyomo compelled Salon chain Naturals to invest $15million (Rs 100 crore) in its venture.

By Niharika Verma

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Beating the Chennai-based, on-demand service provider Paparazzi and Mumbai's The Home Salon, Vyomo online beauty marketplace has bagged Rs100 crore deal from Franchising giant Naturals Salon.

Holding a controlling stake in cricketer Yuvaraj Singh-backed Vyomo venture, Naturals also re-branded the beauty app as Naturals@home marketplace.

Team & technology play

Narrating the saga of funding Vyomo, CK Kumaravel, Co-Founder of Naturals Salon chain disclosed that the brand was looking for an online service model to invest and evaluated a lot of Vyomo's competitors. So why did they select Vyomo?

Kumaravel explained, "Other players operated in only one city, while Vyomo is present in five cities that was one of the prime reasons and the second-most important factor was entrepreneurs- Abhinav (Khare) and Akash (Bhunchal) who had the ability to see bigger picture which looked advantageous to us."

Founded by London Business School alumni Khare and Poonam Marwah in June 2014, Vyomo had raised an undisclosed amount of funds from Yuvraj Singh led YouWeCan Ventures and TaxiForSure Co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna before Naturals.

Significantly, not only the team and its long-term vision, but the technology and engineering of Vyomo which compelled the Naturals team to take the start-up on-board.

"They liked the team, they liked our execution capability, they liked the disruption that we were doing and also, they believed that on-demand beauty services will take up to 30 per cent of the beauty service industry. Rather than sitting on the fence, they wanted to lead," opined Khare.

Fund utilization

Already present in 5 cities, Naturals@home would be live in 80 cities in the next six months.

Elaborating on the $15 million fund utilization, Khare unveiled, "We're changing Vyomo with Naturals which are much prestigious. They are paying crore of rupees in the marketing and promotions and it makes sense to utilize the resources that I have access to. Majority of the funds will be investing in building very high technology team and second one is going live in 80 cities in the next 6 months period. So not only in tier I, but all the tier II cities as well."

First-of-its-kind deal

The deal brings together a brick & mortar salon chain and online marketplace, opening new avenue of opportunities for start-ups and existing players to make a lasting fusion.

"I don't know why nobody has done it before. A brick & mortar is incomplete without online presence while an online venture won't sustain long without brick & mortar presence. I think all the online businesses should have an offline presence because wherever customers are present, our job is to serve them," noted Kumaravel.

Headquartered in Chennai, Naturals salon chain is the brainchild of a homemaker Veena K, backed by hubby CK Kumaravel. The brand dominates Indian salon industry with about 550 salons in 80 cities across India and has strong presence in UAE.

Niharika Verma

Lifestyle Journalist, WellnessIndia.com

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