“All India didn’t like that, so what can I say?” Says Dheeraj Bansal, co-founder of Recode Studios Business Today. Bansal pitched his start-up brand on Shark Tank India 2. Despite decent numbers and significant presence, he and the other co-founder, Rahul Sachdeva, failed to get funding.
Recode sells makeup and cosmetics products. It has a pan-India presence with more than 250 stores in India. Products are also sold online through the company’s website and mobile app. From 2021, they started to sell products of other brands on their platform. The brand recently launched three franchise stores in Faridabad, Delhi and Raipur.
While Peyush Bansal (CEO of Lenskart) and Anupam Mittal (Founder and CEO of People Group) were not convinced by the brand, Namita Thapar (CEO of Emcure Pharmaceuticals) and Aman Gupta (Co-Founder and CMO of boAt) refused to invest in the company because it stood in the way of their friendship with Vineeta Singh who also runs the cosmetics brand Sugar.
After facing the backlash, Thapar even tweeted in her defense saying, “Being a shark doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to our independent values and to speak honestly, so if I don’t invest in other sharks’ competition, that’s me, no regrets & if I call out toxicity & don’t join the ignorant who celebrate people who have no integrity.. that’s me :)”
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Recode co-founder Bansal does not want to share any personal comments about the whole incident. He simply says, “It is what it is and that’s why we’re on trend.” Bansal, however, says he only went to Shark Tank because of Peyush Bansal. “He is our favorite judge. We only went to the show because of him.” Further explaining why the head of Lenskart is their favourite, he says, “We are an e-commerce platform and Peiush sir has experience in omnichannel strategy as well as e-commerce. We wanted to bring his expertise to our business.”
Another bone of contention for the Sharks was valuation. Sachdeva and Bansal offered to raise 1 crore for one percent equity at a valuation of 100 crores. Clarifying the Rs 100 crore valuation, Bansal says the sharks did not probe much, otherwise he would have justified the Rs 100 crore valuation. He tells BT that they expect to achieve sales worth 30 million dinars by the end of fiscal year 23. “Mamaearth, Sugar, Plum, Juici Chemistri are overvalued by about 10 times, so my claim of Rs 100 crore with a shark on board was definitely justified,” he reveals.
Recode ended the 22nd fiscal year with an income of 15 million dinars and has already achieved an income of 11 million dinars this year.
So, even though the startup failed to get funding, it struck a chord with viewers and netizens. Bansal admits this and adds that they got huge publicity by appearing on the show. “Now I’m getting calls from parts of the country I’ve never heard of!” he says.
He says he will now focus on pouring money into Google Ads. “We want to increase our presence on Facebook and Google.” Additionally, they also plan to tie up with multi-brand outlets to tap into the mass market.
The entrepreneurial duo’s favorite shark couldn’t come aboard, but they didn’t give up on the whole funding exercise. “We will reach out to other angel investors and venture capital firms,” he concludes.
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