In March 2020, as Anurag Kedia and Gagandeep Makker were gearing up to launch their beauty and personal care products, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a nationwide lockdown. Fast forward three and a half years, and their direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, Pilgrim, has successfully secured funding, marking a remarkable journey for the IIT-Bombay alumni. The startup, founded in 2019, observed a trend among Indian consumers hoarding international beauty brands during overseas trips, which led to the creation of Pilgrim.
Series B Funding Led by Vertex Ventures
Pilgrim recently closed a Series B funding round, raising $20 million. The funding was led by Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, along with participation from existing investors Fireside Ventures and Narotam Sekhsaria Family Office. This significant investment reflects the brand’s unique positioning in the Indian market.
A Unique Approach: Sourcing Ingredients from Around the World
Pilgrim stands out in the crowded beauty and personal care market by sourcing key ingredients from their respective countries of origin. The brand offers a range of products infused with ingredients from France, Korea, Spain, Australia, the Amazon Rainforest, and Swiss glaciers. This approach sets them apart and allows them to offer high-quality products at an affordable price.
Digital-First to Offline Expansion
Initially, Pilgrim operated as a digital-first brand, but it is now expanding its offline presence. Currently, 8% of sales come from offline channels, while the rest are generated through marketplaces and the brand’s website. The startup achieved approximately INR 26 crore in revenue in August, with an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of INR 300 crore. Pilgrim aims to scale up to an ARR of INR 1,000 crore by 2025.
Vegan and Toxin-Free Products
All Pilgrim products are vegan and free from toxins like parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil. This commitment to clean beauty aligns with the growing demand for safer and more sustainable beauty options.
The Expanding Beauty Market in India
India’s beauty and personal care market is expected to reach $30 billion by 2027, accounting for about 5% of the global market. Despite its growth, the Indian beauty market is under-penetrated compared to other countries. However, online commerce is projected to play a significant role, with an estimated worth of $10 billion by 2027, constituting 33% of the total market.
Pilgrim’s Role in the Indian Beauty Industry
Pilgrim, with its strong product formulations and unique international ingredient ranges, aims to provide Indian customers with high-quality and effective beauty products. It has the potential to become an aspirational global brand in India’s beauty and personal care industry.