FirstCry - Ecommerce Company
Founded in 2010, FirstCry is India's largest online store for newborn, baby and kids products.
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Founded in 2010, Maharashtra-headquartered FirstCry is India’s leading marketplace for newborn babies, kids, and maternity products. It is also the biggest parents networking platform for expert validated advice and tips on pregnancy, parenting, baby care, child development and more.
In 2020, FirstCry became a unicorn after raising $296M in a Series E funding round led by Japan-based Softbank Vision Fund. The company’s latest funding round was in Feb 2022 where it raised $100M from India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund bringing its valuation to a little over $2B.
FirstCry offers 200,000 products from 6000 well-known brands like Disney, Fisherprice, Huggies, Giggles, Pampers, Barbie, Lego, Johnson’s Baby, Funskool, Babyhug, Carters, Mark & Mia, Mamy Poko Pants, Chicco, LuvLap and more. The company currently has 7.5 million registered users and over 400 stores across India with plans to expand to other countries and go public in 2022.
Business Overview & Products
FirstCry offers products in the following categories:
Bath & skin
Health & safety
It also offers a community platform called FirstCry Parenting where experts engage with expecting, first-time and experienced parents with the right content and solutions as per their child's age. The platform provides expert advice on topics such as parenting, pregnancy, and childcare.
FirstCry operates across India and UAE with more than 400 stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, and Delhi and plans to expand its presence in the Middle East by opening stores in markets such as Oman and Saudi Arabia.
How It Works
FirstCry app is a one-stop solution for babies, kids, and maternity products shopping, and access-pass to expert validated advice & tips on pregnancy, parenting, baby care, child development, and more.
Initially, the maternal and child products on FirstCry relied entirely on supply inventory. However, a few years later, the company introduced retailers to the platform, enriched the product category, and launched two in-house brands, BabyHug (clothing) and CuteWalk (shoes). The company puts data analytics to good use in order to drive offline traffic. Based on store pin codes, online customers in the vicinity are sent mailers about upcoming stores, while customer behavior data is shared with franchisees to help them stock popular products.
FirstCry provides free shipping over purchases above INR 699 ($9.33) while for orders below that amount, customers have to pay INR 50 ($0.67). All products purchased in the portal get ensured with timely delivery as the company houses a reliable delivery and shipping network, helping products reach customers within the prescribed time.
Price parity across online and offline stores is the company’s strongest strategy as it provides a 32-inch Internet-enabled touchscreen kiosk at most stores, where customers can check online prices to make comparison shopping easier. Subject to store size, a franchisee can only offer up to 2,000 pieces (called SKUs or stock-keeping units in the trade) in-store, while FirstCry sells over 200,000 pieces online. Through the company’s kiosk, customers can select products of their choice from the online inventory and get them delivered to their homes without any shipping costs.
It also runs a unique direct-to-parents program called FirstCry Box where free gift boxes are given to new parents across hospitals as a token of celebration on the birth of their child. The box contains basic necessities such as diapers, baby lotion, and baby oil. from leading brands such as Mamy Poko and Libero. Every box is bar-coded and contains coupons, which help track conversions up to the second purchase.
FirstCry Parenting offers expert pregnancy and parenting tips, researched articles, Q&As, tools, and trackers to help customers through every step of their parenting journey. Be it tracking their pregnancy week by week, preparing their baby's diet chart, or recommending postnatal exercise, the platform offers it all.
Business Model & Pricing
Firstcry has a hybrid business model which includes online platforms and over 400 offline stores spread across India. Initially, the company was following an inventory-based model by only handling the logistics of products with their warehouses. However, later it added retailers to the portal with an opportunity to sell their products on its platform.
The company has two main sources of revenue, one is the commission it charges brands for displaying their products on its platform and the other is the money it earns from its in-house brands: an apparel brand called Babyhug, and footwear brand Cutewalk. It also has a loyalty program where customers can avail discounts and benefits by either paying INR 299 ($3.99) for a 3-month membership or INR 999 ($13.33) for a 12-month membership.
FirstCry reported a 65.8% jump in its revenue from $72M in 2019 to $120M in 2020. It also reported an 82.5% decrease in its net losses to $22M in 2020 from $125M in 2019. In 2020, Firstcry entered the unicorn club after raising $296M in a Series E funding round led by Japan-based Softbank Vision Fund and is now valued at over $2B. The company is reported to have over 7.5 million registered users and its app has been downloaded close to 10 million times.
Supum Maheshwari: CEO and Co-Founder at FirstCry. Supum, an IIM graduate previously co-founded Brainvisa Technologies, an e-learning platform for the corporate, publishing, education, and government sector which was later sold to Indecomm Global Services.
Prashant Jadhav: CTO and Co-Founder at FirstCry. Prashant previously co-founded Image Digital India and IrasLab Research and Development. He also worked as Delivery Manager at Brainvisa Technologies and as Cyber Security and IT Consultant at Consultant to Government Department.
Amitava Saha: COO and Co-Founder at FirstCry. Amitava, an IIM graduate co-founded Xpressbees, a logistics service provider in India catering to end-to-end supply chain solutions and now works as their CEO. He also previously worked as Senior Officer at Tata Steel and as Senior Vice President at Brainvisa Technologies.
Sanket Hattimattur: COS and Co-Founder at FirstCry. Sanket previously worked as Manager at Brainvisa Technologies and as Purchase Officer at Tata AIG Life Insurance.
History & Evolution
Supam Maheshwari, founder of Brainvisa Technologies always used to shop for his infant daughter during foreign business trips because the quality of products abroad was top-notch. It was only when his journey with Brainvisa ended and so did his foreign trips, that he realized that none of the high-quality baby products he got abroad were available in India. This made him realize the huge demand-supply gap in the domestic market for children-focused brands. With that gap in mind, the idea of FirstCry came into existence, a platform that would provide parents easy access to quality baby and kids products.
In 2010, Supam along with his friend Amitava Saha bootstrapped BrainBees Solutions and under this parent company, Firstcry was launched.
In 2011, FirstCry started delivering 500 orders per day and also adapted the omnichannel model by opening its first franchise store in Bharuch, Gujrat.
In 2013, the platform crossed 1 million customers and started a hospital gift box program, where new mothers post-delivery receive a gift box that contains sample products like diapers, lotions, and baby wipes. That year the company launched two private labels called BabyHug, an apparel brand for babies and kids, and CuteWalk, a footwear brand.
In 2014, FirstCry introduced Kiosk innovation at their stores, a touchscreen catalog that allows customers to scroll through products on a 32-inch screen, order online on spot, and find the product available at the store in 2-3 days.
In 2015, Firstcry rolled out same-day delivery and next-day delivery service in 75 cities across India with the help of logistics player XpressBees.
In 2016, FirstCry acquired Babyoye, an e-commerce store providing pregnancy, infant-care, and mother-care products and services in India. That year it also launched Carters, a major American designer and marketer of children's apparel.
In 2017, the company launched its virtual assistant – Jenna – an Artificial Intelligence-driven Chatbot for shopping products. That year it also launched Firstcry Parenting, a one-stop destination for all parents looking for expert pregnancy and parenting tips.
In 2018, Masala Baby, a New York-based brand for lifestyle, kids, and infants collaborated with FirstCry to tap into the Indian market.
In 2019, FirstCry acquired Acquired Oi Playschool, a leading Play School Chain in India that provides educational programs including pre-nursery, nursery, and pre-preparatory classes. That year it also expanded its operations in the UAE by settling in the Dubai South Logistics Free Zone and establishing a track center.
In 2020, the platform entered the unicorn club after raising $296M in a Series E funding round.
In 2022, the CCI gave permission to the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to invest around $100M in FirstCry as a part of its secondary sale round. FirstCry serves 20 million families with more than 2,00,000 products by 6000 brands and has 400+ shopping stores across India.
FirstCry is gearing up for an IPO in 2022 and has appointed investment bankers Kotak and Morgan Stanley for this purpose. While the size of the issue isn’t finalized yet, it is said to be a mix of both primary share sale as well as offer for sale.
With a booming population owing to 27 million babies being born every year, the market size for baby products in India is estimated to be around INR 15-25B, with experts expecting the growth to double every 6-8 months.
India’s low per capita consumption of baby care products presents a lot of scope for growth with India estimated to be in the high growth phase for the next ten years despite a fall in total fertility rate for the first time.
Suggested starting points to dive deeper
FirstCry's Supam Maheshwari On His Success Secrets, The Global Bees Vision (Debarghya Sil, Inc42, July ‘21)
FirstCry Looks To Acquire Online Sellers, D2C Brands With $75 Mn Fund (Romita Majumdar, Inc42, April ‘21)
FirstCry Has Revamped Baby Apparel Shopping In India (Ashita Marya, Entrepreneur Europe, Jan ‘20)
We are running exclusive gift box program in hospitals for new parents: Supam Maheshwari (Niharika Verma, Opportunity India, Sep ‘17)
FirstCry: Child's play (Rajiv Bhuva, Fortune India, May ‘15)