Behind the funding surge in travel and lifestyle

NEW DELHI : The travel recovery has refocused attention on the travel and lifestyle segment, as investors seek to profit from the growth of new-era businesses.

Several new-era brands have raised venture capital in this space, including luggage maker Mokobara, which is looking to disrupt with new designs and innovative features.

“The way we travel has changed, but luggage hasn’t changed in decades, and it’s time to change that. At Mokobara, we’ve achieved many industry firsts, such as a 30-day trial on all of our products and luggage with smart features like USB charging and constant engagement with our consumers, which has given us an edge. which our competitors lack,” said Sangeet Agarwal, Founder of Mokobara.

Manu Chandra, founder of Sauce.VC, which invested in Mokobara in 2020, said the return of leisure and business travel is a huge tailwind. Airports and airlines are packed and hotels are packed, even without a full resumption of international travel to and from India. Moreover, the bags are also seeing a huge demand, with the opening of offices and colleges.

According to Agarwal, the increase in funding in this category is natural and will continue since direct-to-consumer is a great starting point, but brands in the new era will eventually have to be omnichannel.

The two-year-old company plans to expand offline retail with experience centers. The industry supply chain is complex and a luggage business cannot be built in a short time, Agarwal said. “It takes a long-term vision combined with a strong back-end, distribution strategy and expertise in brand building to create a dent,” Agarwal added.

Luggage space in India has fierce competition; VIP and Safari are present in the value range, while the price of Mokobara is between them and the more expensive Samsonite.

“Samsonite targets a business traveler with its predominantly black, gray and beige palate. Mokobara is unique in its very young and international designs with very high quality components on par with luxury brands like Away, Rimowa or Tumi, but at a price much lower than Samsonite,” said an investor in the space under covered with anonymity.

Luggage maker Acefour Accessories, which raised $7 million from Sixth Sense Ventures and Volrado Venture Partners, aims to woo consumers with many industry-first features.

“Our products have many USPs like rainproof zippers, 3x more water resistant material and premium recycled fabric with quality so good that our backpacks can hold up even when not not padded,” said Sudip Ghose, founder of Acefour.

Ghose said that although Acefour is in the pre-revenue stage, it has raised capital because the funds look at three things: “One, proposal; two, product; and three, the team. Our products have cutting-edge designs that stand out in terms of appearance and functionality. Finally, we have a team of highly dedicated professionals who understand the category, consumer and business nuances very well,” he said.

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