Hopscotch, an India-based e-commerce service focused on mums and founded by a former Diapers.com executive, has closed a $13 million Series C round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Saverin rose to fame via his involvement in Facebook, which ultimately ended in 2005 when Mark Zuckerberg diluted his shares. Still, his stake (and potential taxes) was enough to warrant giving up his passport and moving Singapore, where he since married and started a family, before Facebook’s IPO.
These days, Saverin is a media recluse but an active startup investor, with female- and family-focused e-commerce a particular interest. He recently backed newly-renamed Orami, which operates in a similar space to Hopscotch in Southeast Asia, and he has now joined the Hopscotch board following the deal, which marks his first personal investment in a company based in India. Saverin previously invested in Hopscotch via his Velos Partners fund.
Founded in 2012 by two Havard Business School alumni, Rahul Anand and early Quidsi employee Lisa Kennedy, Hopscotch had raised $13 million prior to today, including a $11 million Series B in January 2015.
Women are a powerful consumer group and there have been plenty of company’s vying for their attention and money since e-commerce became established in India. While a number of competitors have raised more money than Hopscotch, such as First Cry ($55 million), Anand, who previously spent time working at Diapers.com, told TechCircle last year that he isn’t phased and the goal is to be “the most profitable one.”
Despite his past, Hopscotch doesn’t sell diapers and other commodities that can be easily got offline. In the same interview, Anand explained how the strategy has to be localized to India.
“The problem with [other] companies was that they copied Diapers.com blindly, without understanding why it had succeeded in the US market. The reason why the company succeeded for US customers was not valid for Indian customers. This is because in India, you can pick up the phone and order almost anything in a major tier I city from offline ‘kirana’ stores. Hence, the only way to compete is not convenience, rather pricing.
Hopscotch kept fairly quiet on the specifics of how its business is doing. It claimed that revenue has grown 700 percent year-on-year, although it declined to reveal raw figures, other that it currently lists products from 3,000 Indian and international brands. The company is also hiring and has moved into new office space, it said.
“We are excited to have Eduardo on our board, who will work in tandem with us and continue providing Indian moms with the best for their kids. With invaluable insights and experience, it is reassuring to have him as an investor. This announcement marks a new milestone in Hopscotch’s journey to be the iconic destination for moms,” Anand said in a statement.
Saverin was equally as bullish, saying: “Hopscotch is taking a customer focused approach and as a result seeing record high customer retention. I believe that if they continue serving moms with an exceptional selection, coupled with a delightful tailor-made experience, Hopscotch will become the destination for moms in India.”