FirstCry: Scaling New Heights in India’s E-commerce Sector with Innovative Hybrid Retail Model and IPO Aspirations

January 28, 2024



FirstCry, founded in 2010, has emerged as a leading force in India’s online market for baby and kids’ products. The company’s journey began with the founders’ vision to provide a comprehensive online platform for baby care products, evolving into an integrated hybrid business model that combines online and offline retail. This unique approach has enabled FirstCry to establish a substantial presence across India with over 400 stores, including 350 franchise outlets.

The company is now gearing up for an IPO in 2024, aiming to raise about $500 million. This move is poised to be a critical step for FirstCry, reflecting the company’s growth potential and resilience amidst the challenges of scaling in a competitive market.

FirstCry, a pioneer in the Indian online market for baby and kids’ products, presents a fascinating case study of entrepreneurial success and strategic growth. Founded in 2010 by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha, the company was born out of the founders’ personal need for a comprehensive platform for baby care products in India. Starting as an online platform, FirstCry has expanded to include physical retail stores, creating a unique integrated hybrid business model.

Business Model and Growth

FirstCry operates on an innovative integrated hybrid business model that blends online and offline retail. This approach has enabled them to establish a significant presence with over 400 stores across India, including 350 franchise outlets. Their product range is extensive, with more than 200,000 unique products from over 5,800 brands. The company has also developed private labels, BabyHug and CuteWalk, further diversifying its offerings.

Financial Performance

The financial journey of FirstCry reflects its ambitious growth strategy. As of FY23, the company reported a total consolidated income of Rs 5,731.27 crore, more than double the previous year’s revenue. However, this growth has come with increased expenditures, which rose to Rs 6,315.66 crore in FY23, nearly two-and-a-half times the previous year’s total. Notably, significant investments were made in employee benefits, transportation, and advertising, contributing to a considerable increase in overall expenses.

Despite these investments, FirstCry’s EBITDA margin deteriorated to -2.9% in FY23, down from 4.05% in FY22. This negative margin reflects the challenges and strategic decisions involved in scaling a business in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

Funding and Valuation

FirstCry has successfully raised approximately $793.7 million over 11 funding rounds. Key investors include SoftBank, Chrys Capital, and Vertex Ventures. SoftBank’s significant investment in 2020 boosted FirstCry’s status as a unicorn, recognizing its high value in the marketplace for kid and baby products.

IPO Aspirations

The company is currently gearing up for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2024, with plans to file its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The IPO is expected to raise around $500 million, with a mix of new shares and an offer for sale (OFS) component.

Key Challenges and Future Outlook

The journey ahead for FirstCry is not without challenges. The company’s considerable increase in losses and operational costs reflect the complexities of scaling and sustaining growth in a competitive market. However, the resilience shown in revenue growth, coupled with strategic investments, positions FirstCry in a unique spot of risk and opportunity. The upcoming IPO will be a crucial milestone, likely to attract significant attention from investors and industry observers​​​​​​​​​​​​.


FirstCry’s evolution from an online startup to a leading player in the Indian market for baby and kids’ products is a testament to its innovative business model, strategic growth, and the ability to adapt to changing market dynamics. While the road ahead poses challenges, the company’s robust growth trajectory and strategic investments bode well for its future, particularly as it prepares to enter the public market.


Strategy Boffins Team