Universal Sportsbiz, a celebrity fashion firm backed by cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, is set to raise Rs. 100 crores from US based venture firm Accel Partners.
Through the investment, Accel will pick up a 15% stake in the company. Post this investment round, the company will be valued at Rs. 650 crores ($ 100 million.) According to a news daily, both the companies have already signed an agreement and a formal announcement will be made sometime next week. Universal Sportsbiz Pvt., Ltd., (USPL) will use the fresh funds to develop their products and expand their presence across smaller cities in India.
Founded in 2012 by former national level badminton player Anjana Reddy, the company first raised Rs. 46 crores from Accel in 2015, followed by Rs. 8 crores of venture debt from Temasek’s lending platform, InnoVen Capital India. Along with Sachin Tendulkar, celebrities like Virat Kohli and Shraddha Kapoor are also associated with USPL. The company helped both the celebrities launch their private labels Wrogn and Imara respectively in 2014 and 2015. The company is also looking to tap into the international markets targeted at the Indian and Asian diaspora.
USPL also sells sports memorabilia and autographed merchandise of iconic players like Sachin Tendulkar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael Nadal, among others, through its etailing platform Collectabillia. Overall, the company has raised over Rs. 260 crores from venture funds in the past five years. Currently, USPL is one of the few homegrown companies with a significant presence in the multi billion dollar celebrity fashion label business. Speaking about his investment in the company, Sachin Tendulkar said, “Anjana is prepared to take the risk to be ahead of the game and her commitment to pursue her dreams in spite of setbacks is impressive.” Sachin Tendulkar holds a 21% stake in USPL as of March 2016.
Venture firm, Accel Partners, is known for its early investments in successful startups such as Facebook, Dropbox, BookMyShow and Flipkart. Both Universal Sportsbiz and Accel Partners declined to comment on this latest development.