Startup Story: How Flyrobe got acquired by Rent it Bae

Flyrobe is a rental service that fulfils all your fashion desires. Let's read through how this startup became the biggest online rental service in India.

If you are an individual who adores the latest designs in fashion, you know how it feels to possess dresses from top brands. Although most of them are overrated, you would still go a step further to own them. Regardless of whether you have a handful, you simply need more, isn’t that right? At the same time, there’s a limit to how much you can buy. You cannot always go on a shopping spree every time you want to wear something new. You can’t repeat the same dress several times either. So what is the solution? Flyrobe is a business with a fun idea to save fashionistas from spending too much money on dresses that won’t be worn more than once. 

Flyrobe is basically an online fashion rental company with an extensive collection for both men and women. It lets you rent occasion wear from famous brands at affordable prices. It was established in 2015 by a trio of IIT graduates from Mumbai. Although they supply a wide range of locations through their online store, they also have offline stores in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Delhi. Flyrobe has an extensive collection of all types of fashion across categories like western outfits, bridal wear, ethnic style, jewelry, etc. They have a collaboration with many famous brands like Sabyasachi, Masaba, Ritu Kumar, Mango, Armani, etc. 

The high fashion clothes at Flyrobe are available at just 10 to 15 percent of their original retail price. The staff and fashion experts at Flyrobe will also help you with the alteration thus providing the best kind of service. You can order western wear from Flyrobe which is available on-demand and can be delivered to you within three hours. In the case of ethnic wear, the orders need to be made in advance. You can own the pieces of clothing for four days and you will be charged a 20 percent rate which will be discounted once the dress is returned. Making use of online rental rather than buying new clothes will also help to reduce the amount of post-consumer textile waste. 


The birth of Flyrobe

Flyrobe co-founder - Shreya Mishra
Flyrobe co-founder – Shreya Mishra

The seed of thought was planted when the founder of Flyrobe, Shreya Mishra, visited AirBnB’s office in 2012. It was a part of an entrepreneurship conference at Stanford University. Shreya was intrigued by the concept of the rental shops, which can be operated using the assets that are already owned. Shreya and her friends from IIT Mumbai, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena, started thinking of a rental service that could become successful in India. They realized that people spend a lot of money on dresses that are utilized very few times. Being able to wear new dresses without the responsibility of owning them would undoubtedly be a blessing to them. 

Flyrobe Founders - Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena
Flyrobe Founders – Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena

The founders of Flyrobe soon conducted a survey where they asked the opinion of 200 women on this idea. More than 80 percent of them gave wonderful positive responses. As a result, the plan for Flyrobe was born. Tushar Saxena was three months away from graduating when Shreya and Pranay approached him. He was brilliant at information technology and had designed the tech for Pranay’s startup. In September 2015, they launched the Flyrobe android app, and in October, the website was launched. It was incubated by Omapal Technologies Private Limited. Soon the concept of fashion rental gained more attention, and the field saw more competitors. Flyrobe was able to gain attention through social media which helped them become more popular as compared to other companies that provide online rental. 


The strengths of Flyrobe 

A significant power of Flyrobe lies in the solidarity and individual capabilities of the team members. The company has brilliant masterminds in sectors like engineering, business development, marketing, operations, etc. Some of their team members previously worked for enterprises like Cadbury, Bain & Co. Tinyowl etc. The CBO of Flyrobe, Sreejitha Deb, is a business graduate from Harvard University and has more than 25 years of experience in reputable businesses like Amazon and Google. 

Flyrobe also employs creative marketing methods using influencer tactics. When the company was launched, they initiated a campaign using ten different women from all spheres of life. From doctors to homemakers to college students, these groups of women were able to influence and lure in a considerable number of customers during the first months of Flyrobe. This project named ‘Angel User Campaign’ involved the women doing a casual photoshoot using rented clothes from Flyrobe. These pictures were then uploaded on various social media platforms along with a positive review about Flyrobe. 


Funding and Partnerships

The prominent investors in Flyrobe are Sequoia Capital, Chiratae Ventures, and Strive Ventures. In the first two rounds of funding in 2016, Flyrobe raised 7 million dollars. This series saw participation from Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Stanhope Capital chairman Leon Seynave, etc. Using this investment, Flyrobe improved its teams of technology, business, and product management. In the same year, a series A funding was led by Chiratae Ventures in which they raised 5.3 million dollars. 

Another funding round was conducted in September 2018 led by Sequoia Capital India, and the company was able to raise an amount of 26 crore rupees from prevailing shareholders. An undisclosed amount of funding was gained in venture led by Innoven Capital in January 2019. In November 2019, Flyrobe was acquired by Rent It Bae (1). This deal has raised the value of both companies to 60 crore rupees, and they plan to function under the brand name of Fkyrobe.


The path ahead

Aanchal Saini
Aanchal Saini

Flyrobe hopes to extend theist services to more cities and even abroad including Dubai, London, and the USA. The offline stores will be expanded from 5 cities to 20 cities within the next few years. Their partnership with Rent It Bae is sure to boost productivity as the excellent experience of both these companies will be merged. The new CEO of the company will be Aanchal Saini who was the former CEO of Rent It Bae. 

They are also planning to initiate a virtual trial room experience named Tryrobe. Virtual walls will soon be launched at all offline stores of Flyrobe. This service will allow the customers to try out the clothes they like just like in an actual shop. They are also looking for collaboration with more brands as a part of their expansion. The association with giant brands in each region will bring them a more trustworthy reputation. 

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Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article have been curated for our audience and does not warrant a 100% accuracy. All the information mentioned in the article is subject to change according to the changing viewpoints. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] for any change or copyright issues.

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Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

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