India’s e-commerce space has been the graveyard of many a startup, but it’s now given another blockbuster exit after the Flipkart acquisition in 2018.
Tata-group owned Titan has bought out the remaining 27% stake in Caratlane from the company’s founder Mithun Sacheti and his family members for Rs 4,621 crore in cash. The transaction valued Caratlane at Rs. 17,000 crore, or slightly over $2 billion. This is the second biggest exit for a founder in India’s e-commerce space after Flipkart, in which founders Sachin and Binny Bansal had sold their stakes to Walmart.
“We have great faith in the India consumer story and believe that the growth journey of CaratLane has only begun and has a long way to go,” said Titan MD C K Venkataraman. “We thank Mithun Sacheti, founder and managing director of CaratLane for having jointly built a customer-centric brand that all of us in Tata Group can be proud of and wish him continued success in his future endeavours,” he added.
“Looking into the future, there couldn’t be a more ideal destination for CaratLane than Titan and the esteemed Tata Group who will provide the perfect opportunities for CaratLane to continue to grow from strength to strength. I whole-heartedly thank Titan as well as extend my heartfelt gratitude to colleagues, partners and million+ customers whose support and love has paved the way to our success and made it India’s largest digitally native omnichannel jewellery brand,” Mithun Sacheti said.
Caratlane had been founded all the way back in 2008 as an online jewelry store by Mithun Sacheti and Srinivasa Gopalan. Sancheti had been in the jewellery business for a while, and had been working with Jaipur gems since 2000. Caratlane aimed to revolutionize how diamonds and diamond jewellery was bought in India. It raised its Series A round in 2011 through Tiger Global, and raised as much as $58 million until its Series D round in 2015.
In 2016, Caratlane caught the attention of Tata-group owned jewelry behemoth Titan, which purchased a 62% stake in CaratLane for ₹357.24 crore (US$45 million). Through the partnership with Titan, its prominence grew — Caratlane began billing itself as a Tata company, which helped it garner the trust of people in buying high-value jewllery. In 2023, Caratlane logged a revenue of over Rs. 2000 crore, and was profitable. Caratlane had started off as an online store, but has also successfully moved to an omnichannel approach with 227 stores across 88 cities in India.
Titan has now acquired the remaining stake in the company from the founders, and will run it as a fully-owned subsidiary. This means a massive payday for Caratlane founders, who had been running the company since 2008. There’s was no shortage of Indian e-commerce startups during the boom days of the early 2010s, but only a handful of companies managed to survive the melee and make a name for themselves. And those that did so seem to have given spectacularly outsized returns to their founders and backers.