Trase Founders Reclaim Brand in Bold Move, Securing $500k Angel Round

D2C footwear brand ‘Trase’ have successfully reacquired their brand from the roll-up company Upscalio. This strategic move was swiftly followed by a $500k Angel round, post-acquisition, led by notable investors Deep Bajaj and Mohit Bajaj, co-founders of Sirona Hygiene, along with Shiven Malhotra, Vikas Gautam, and Rohit Jain.

Established in 2016, Trase witnessed substantial growth under the leadership of Jitin Goel and Dhruv Gupta, achieving an impressive Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of 18 crores by 2020, entirely self-funded. Renowned for its modern and comfortable footwear for women and kids, the brand emerged as a top seller on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra.

In 2021, Trase was acquired by Upscalio as part of its strategy to build a diversified portfolio of brands in utility categories. However, due to a strategic shift focusing on brands specifically in the Home and Kitchen categories, a mutual decision was reached with the ‘Trase’ promoters and new investors to divest the brand.

Reflecting on the acquisition, Jitin Goel & Dhruv Gupta stated, “Building Trase was a labor of love and passion. With the support of angels led by Deep and Mohit Bajaj, we managed to repurchase Trase. We’re now focused on scaling the brand and are optimistic about regaining our leading position in the market within this financial year.”

Lead investor and Co-Founder of Sirona Hygiene, Deep Bajaj, shared, “The passion of the founders is paramount for us. Upon being introduced to Trase and Upscalio by ‘Done Deal,’ we were immediately struck by Jitin and Dhruv’s dedication to their brand. The deal closing and transition process were seamless, and we are confident that ‘Trase’ will dominate its category once again.”

Gautam Kshatriya, CEO of Upscalio, commented, “Despite the success of Trase, it did not align with our long-term strategy. We are pleased to divest it back to the capable hands of its founders and new investors, who are well-positioned to scale the brand further.”

Aneesh Sivakumar, Co-founder of Done Deal, expressed his satisfaction, saying, “We are happy that Deep and Mohit discovered Trase through us.” Done Deal is a tech-enabled M&A platform that scours over 800 listed startups for potential opportunities.

This episode underscores a sophisticated dimension of the roll-up economy, illustrating how strategic decisions or financial constraints can lead to innovative solutions when approached with good intent. In this case, the dialogue resulted in the transfer of a brand back to its founders, facilitating growth and reinforcing the entrepreneurial spirit.

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