Fireside Ventures invests Rs 6 crore in audio product brand boAt

This is the first round of equity financing raised by the two-year-old boAt, which makes a range of consumer durable audio products, including, earphones, headphones, stereos, travel chargers and premium rugged cables.

Agencies
Fireside Ventures closed its first fund with a corpus of Rs 340 crore overshooting its original target of Rs 300 crore.
NEW DELHI: Fireside Ventures, the early-stage consumer brand-focused investment firm, has invested Rs 6 crore in Delhi-based consumer technology lifestyle venture Imagine Marketing, which owns and operates audio product maker boAt.

This is the first round of equity financing raised by the two-year-old boAt, which makes a range of consumer durable audio products, including, earphones, headphones, stereos, travel chargers and premium rugged cables.

The company, which had been bootstrapped by its founders till date, will use the proceeds from its first institutional round of funding, primarily towards marketing and product development. For Fireside Ventures, the latest investment is its fourth in calendar year 2018.


“We need to add some more product categories…Currently we are largely doing personal audio, which is centred around the mobile and the mobile ecosystem. But we will be getting into home audio – soundbars, speakers,” Aman Gupta, co-founder and chief executive of boAt.

The CEO said that the company would begin introducing new product categories by the next quarter. boAt, which began as an online brand, selling across multiple ecommerce platforms, such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, has now begun selling through offline channels as well.

“We began by using the online channels more, since it provides greater validation of the products… But we are in the Croma and Apple stores now,” Gupta told ET. “This is the year we will target offline, for distribution primarily, across India.”
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Founded in 2016 by Gupta, a serial entrepreneur, and who had earlier worked with audio product giant Harman International as its India sales director, and Sameer Mehta, who also runs gaming hardware company RedGear, boAt was founded with seed capital of Rs 30 lakh put in by the founders.

“We both saw a big gap in this space… We have built a community of 8 lakh ‘boAtheads’ and which is growing by the day…The company’s products have consistently performed well due to considerable importance to quality and positive word-of-mouth marketing,” Mehta said.

While product design and research and development is done in-house, manufacturing of the same is done in China. The company, which has signed cricketer Hardik Pandya as its brand ambassador, through tie ups with offline distributors, will now look to cover all metros, before moving into the tier-2 cities and beyond.

“This is our first bet in this space, and we believe that we should stay exclusive to the brand…The logic for us as a fund, has always to look for white spaces, where there are gaps, which nobody seems to be filling, and find passionate entrepreneurs, wh have solutions to address these gaps,”
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Earlier this month, ET reported that Fireside Ventures closed its first fund with a corpus of Rs 340 crore overshooting its original target of Rs 300 crore.

The fund counts PremjiInvest, the personal investment arm of Wipro promoter Azim Premji’s Premji, consumer goods maker Marico’s Mariwala, RP-Sanjiv Goenka and Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise investment office, as its backers. It also has the backing of some of the largest FMCG giants including Unilever Ventures, ITC and Kolkata-based consumer goods firm Emami along with homegrown investment firm WestBridge Capital.
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Since its launch, the Fireside Ventures has backed 12 ventures, including, Yoga Bar, Goodness Beverages, Vahdam Teas, Mama Earth and Bombay Shaving Company as some of its portfolio companies.
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