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Sachin Tendulkar’s Universal Sportsbiz raises Rs 46 crore funding

MUMBAI: Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar backed celebrity fashion line firm Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd (USPL) has raised Rs 46 crore in Series B funding from its existing investor Accel Partners.

Reports state that USPL, which markets apparel under Virat Kohli’s brand Wrogn and Shraddha Kapoor’s Imara, is looking at a top line of Rs 75 crore for FY16 with the launch of new lines and wider distribution network.

Accel Partners India partner Mahendran Balachandran told the Economic Times that the next phase in the evolution of fashion e-commerce would be dominated by brands. “As the pressure to improve margins in horizontal commerce and market places increase, good brands will provide the answer. USPL has an online and offline strategy for distribution. They have done an excellent job in building three great brands and have global aspiration in the near future.”

The company also launched its first product in February, Collectabillia, which e-tails sports and entertainment-related fashion accessories. It sold sports memorabilia including Tendulkar’s autographed bats and Lionel Messi laptop covers

Accel Partners had invested Rs 17.25 crore in the company in July 2012, before which Tendulkar had taken a minority stake in it for an undisclosed sum. This new investment values the company, founded by Anjana Reddy in 2012, at around Rs 225 crore.

Reddy told Times of India that the company will deploy the funds raised through the Series-B funding to expand the distribution network for Wrogn and Imara across the country as also scaling up the branding efforts for the company’s offerings.

Tendulkar told ET, “Universal Sportsbiz has developed an interesting model bringing together celebrities, fans and fashion in a distinct manner. The progress of the company has been impressive and I am sure that the future plans will be pursued aggressively by Anjana and her team with the latest round of funding.”

The company is also reportedly planning to use a bit of the money raised, for a new brand campaign.

For Collectabillia, USPL plans to extend its range of fashion accessories by tying up with 10 celebrated personalities. As an extension of this initiative, Collectabillia will also seek to identify and engage untapped talent for developing and sourcing designs for its line of fashion accessories.

In the offline space, Imara retails at Shoppers Stop, Central and Ethnicity. Wrogn sells exclusively at Shoppers Stop. Online, Imara is sold at several online marketplaces while Myntra sells Wrogn exclusively.

Besides Tendulkar and Messi, Collectabillia works with other sports celebrities like Vishwanathan Anand, Viv Richards, Harbhajan Singh, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal. It is looking to add 10 celebrities but this time from the entertainment space. Apart from memorabilia, the brand also sells fashion accessories.