Sixteen McKinsey partners invest in Bombay Shaving Company

08 February 2021 3 min. read
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A group of sixteen McKinsey & Company partners are among a long list of backers for Bombay Shaving Company – a personal care brand founded by ex-McKinsey man Shantanu Deshpande.

Launched in 2016 and owned by Visage Lines Personal Care, Bombay Shaving Company is a grooming products and solutions company housing more than 100 brands of shaving merchandise, skin care creams, oils and soaps.

The company has gone from strength to strength since launching, having roped in a total of five rounds of funding. Backers so far include illustrious members of India’s corporate scene, including sixteen McKinsey & Company senior partners – who’s names and investments remain undisclosed.

Sixteen McKinsey partners invest in Bombay Shaving Company

A funding round led by venture fund Sixth Sense Venture in December raised over $6 million for the company, and another round led by global consumer good company Reckitt Benckiser early this year has doubled this sum. 

Growth plans

The latest round also gives Bombay Shaving Company access to Reckitt Beckinser’s global distribution infrastructure – a strong foundation to meet the company’s growth ambitions. Plans are to scale the business, and cross $20 million in top line earnings by the end of 2021.

And there is plenty of momentum to build on. The firm specialises in online sales and delivery, and has won out from the Covid-induced boom in ecommerce in 2020. “The pandemic has created a few tailwinds and our business now is almost three times what it was pre-Covid,” said Shantanu Deshpande, founder and chief executive officer of Visage Lines.

At the same time, online cannot take precedence for the company, given that brick & mortar accounts for a staggering 98% of India's retail landscape according to Deshpande. “Even if the online retail grows very fast, it still won’t be more than 15 per cent of the retail (in near future).”

Bombay Shaving Company currently has an offline presence of 14,000 stores, with plans to expand to 50,000 stores by the end of this year. The latest funding round – which also drew participation from Bharti Enterprises managing director Rajesh Sud, Avana Capital founder Anjali Bansal and CleanMax Energy managing director Kuldeep Jain – is aimed at achieiving this goal.

Leading the charge

An IIM Lucknow graduate, Deshpande spent the first four years of his professional career at McKinsey & Company – eventually rising to Engagement Manager – before leaving the strategy consulting firm in 2015 to start Bombay Shaving Company. A number of his senior McKinsey colleagues have backed his venture over the years, while the latest funding round might just prove a growth launchpad according to Deshpande.

“Reckitt Beckinser has an excellent record in building health and wellness brands over their 200-years heritage. Working in partnership, our young team is ambitious for what we can achieve together and scale our operations with an omnichannel presence.”

Joining him in leadership is Reckitt Beckinser senior vice president for ventures Arjun Purkayastha, who takes a seat on the Bombay Shaving Company board. “Our investment represents a commitment to bring the best of two worlds together, Bombay Shaving Company’s expertise in digital-first brands with strong e-commerce capabilities, and Reckitt Beckinser’s expertise in branding, manufacturing, and global scale,” said Purkayastha.