Rajiv is based out of Delhi-NCR and writes stories on startups, corporates, entrepreneurs of all kinds, and yes, marketing and advertising world. His ‘historic feats’ include graduation in history from Hansraj College, master's in medieval Indian history from Delhi University, and PG diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Another forgettable achievement was spending over a decade at The Economic Times as his maiden job. For the first seven years, he learnt the craft on the desk, and the remaining years were spent unlearning and writing for Brand Equity and ET Magazine. What keeps him going, and alive, apart from stories is the heavenly music of immortal legend RD Burman.
(Left) Abhishek Sharma, COO; Pawan Gupta, CEO of Fashinza
Fashinza, a global B2B fashion manufacturing marketplace, has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Accel Partners and Elevation Capital. The latest round also saw participation from Abu Dhabi’s DisruptAD, Stride Ventures, Alteria Capital, and TradeCred. Anand Ahuja, founder of fashion apparel brand Bhaane, and actor Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, also pumped in money.
Fashinza, which works to create sustainable and futuristic supply chains for fashion brands while improving the lives of workers, will use the funds to invest in supply-chain technology and expand international presence, especially in the US and Middle East.
Founded in February 2020 by Abhishek Sharma and Pawan Gupta, Fashinza handles everything from design to delivery for their partner brands by providing an end-to-end online ordering, complete production tracking from factory floor, low minimum order quantity, and fast and ethical production.
They connect family-run small –and-mid-sized audited factories to the cloud with their mobile-based production management and visibility software. The startup claims to have over 400 ethical partner factories across India, Bangladesh, China, and Sri Lanka. It works with brands across 10 countries such as like Forever21, noon.com, Centric Brands, Amaro and Clovia. Last year, the startup raised $2.6 million in seed round from Accel Partners and Elevation Capital.
In little over a year, the fashion marketplace has grown at a fast clip. “Fashinza has grown over 20x in the last 12 months,” claims Gupta, who is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Fashinza. Though Covid-19 disrupted the global apparel supply chain, Fashinza’s AI-led technology platform automates everything, from finding the right supplier to managing production across stakeholders, he adds, underlining the reason to start the venture.
Fashinza, Gupta explains, was born out of the need to improve the lives of millions of workers—majority of them women—involved in the supply chain, and eliminate environmentally unsustainable practices in the industry.
Apart from its core offerings, Fashinza solves credit needs of fashion brands and suppliers in cross-border transactions through ‘buy now pay later’ programme. “We also solve working capital challenges for suppliers through an embedded fintech ecosystem that operates on our core supply chain technology and data,” says Sharma, who is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Fashinza. This allows the supply chain, he adds, to operate ethically and ensure workers get paid fairly and timely.
Pratik Agarwal, Principal at Accel Partners, explains why the marquee VC fund first backed the venture in its seed round last year and why it has continued to do so now. “We are inspired by their electric execution against their vision to help fashion brands adapt to the ecommerce era with agile manufacturing capabilities,” he says, explaining that the early success Fashinza has achieved serving global brands validates the massive opportunity they are going after. Agarwal adds, “We are confident Fashinza can serve as a role model for more Indian startups building for the world from get-go.”
For Elevation Capital, the investment is based on the performance of the fledgling startup. "Over the past year, Fashinza has been able to design and deliver an offering that addresses multiple issues in the supply chain," says Akarsh Shrivastava, vice-president at Elevation.