Pepperfry may file for IPO by next June


Furniture marketplace Pepperfry plans to file for an initial public offering (IPO) in the first half of 2022 and complete the pre-IPO funding round by the end of this year, a top company executive said.

The omnichannel retailer claims it was on the cusp of profitability last year but has focused on growth instead.

While the company has started working towards a public listing, it is also ramping up its offline presence by expanding its store network in metros and smaller cities. Pepperfry stores are primarily experiential centres and not for selling products.

“We are raising a pre-IPO round of between $50-100 million. While we have enough money in the bank, we will raise more money to align a good set of investors on our side before we hit the IPO. We have been fortunate to have marquee investors on our board and would like to get a similar cohort of great names,” Ashish Shah, co-founder and chief operating officer, Pepperfry, said in an interview.

In a relatively young online furniture market, Pepperfry competes with vertical e-tailers (which specialize in one category) and horizontal players such as Amazon India and Flipkart (that sell products across categories), which have been ramping up their furniture offerings.

There has also been a fair bit of consolidation with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) acquiring online furniture seller Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions Pvt. Ltd last year, expanding its presence in India’s fast-growing e-commerce market.

Since 2018, Pepperfry has working to turn profitable and has focused on bringing down costs and paring losses.

Pepperfry posted a 26% increase in revenue to ₹260.61 crore and trimmed losses by 33% to ₹122.31 crore in 2019-20.

Earlier this year, Pepperfry received ₹35 crore from InnoVen Capital, the third investment by the venture debt and specialty firm in the online furniture marketplace.

In September 2020, Mint first reported that Pepperfry was looking to launch an IPO within 12-18 months. Co-founder and CEO Ambareesh Murty had then said that for an IPO, a track record of at least 6-9 months of profitability is important to show the business can make money.

According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, the online furniture business has increased its share owing to experience stores and different models offering quality furniture at affordable prices.

Furniture sales touched $700 million in 2019-20, but online had less than a 3% share in the overall furniture market, which is pegged at $17 billion.

With furniture being a non-essential category, business was impacted during the lockdowns due to the first and second waves.

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