Meesho raises $50 mn from Shun­wei, oth­ers in fresh fund­ing round

Mint ST - - DEALS - Aakanksha.a@livemint.com NEW DELHI

Less than five months af­ter rais­ing its last round of funds, Meesho, one of the fastest grow­ing e-com­merce com­pa­nies in the coun­try, has raised $50 mil­lion in Se­ries C fund­ing from new in­vestors in­clud­ing Shun­wei Cap­i­tal, DST Part­ners and RPS Ven­tures, the com­pany said on Tues­day.

Ex­ist­ing in­vestors in­clud­ing Se­quoia In­dia, SAIF Part­ners, Ven­ture High­way and Y Com­bi­na­tor also par­tic­i­pated in the round. Till date, the so­cial e-com­merce firm has raised nearly $65 mil­lion over three fund­ing rounds.

Founded in 2015 by Iit­delhi grad­u­ates Vidit Aa­trey and Sanjeev Barn­wal, Meesho oper­ates as an on­line mar­ket­place, which con­nects re­sellers di­rectly with raw ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers. A ma­jor­ity of the re­sellers on the plat­form are home­mak­ers, small busi­ness own­ers, small bou­tique brands and those who sell art and craft, fash­ion wear, home and kitchen prod­ucts.

Meesho plans to use the fresh funds to build a stronger prod­uct and scale its tech­nol­ogy team. The Ben­galu­rubased com­pany re­cently launched per­sonal care and nu­tri­tion cat­e­gories on its plat­form and is pi­lot­ing new seg­ments.

“We want to build out a sup­ply base—do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally as in im­port­ing from China. On the de­mand side we have been fo­cused on ex­pand­ing on our user seg­ment—from housewives about a year ago to now a con­sid­er­able chunk of our users who are stu­dents and work­ing pro­fes­sion­als,” said Aa­trey, co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Meesho over the phone.

Meesho, which claims to have grown more than 100x in topline (sales) over the last 12 months, is among the few firms that have at­tracted in­vestor in­ter­est af­ter ven­ture cap­i­tal firms shied away from in­vest­ing in e-com­merce in late 2015.

More than 30% of Meesho’s user-base is non-english and it plans to launch in new ver­nac­u­lar lan­guages over time to go deeper into smaller towns and cities. Cur­rently, it has over 1 mil­lion re­sellers on its plat­form. For ev­ery trans­ac­tion, a re­seller makes a 10-20% com­mis­sion.

RPS ven­tures, set up by Softbank In­vest­ment Ad­vis­ers man­ag­ing part­ner Kabir Misra, was look­ing to in­vest in Meesho and in­surance provider Ackho, Mint re­ported on Mon­day.

“We (RPS) are hop­ing to as­sist them with our ac­cu­mu­lated ex­pe­ri­ence in the sec­tor to fur­ther grow their busi­ness in In­dia and be­yond,” said Misra, founder and man­ag­ing part­ner, RPS Ven­tures.

Meesho’s busi­ness model is largely built around small and medium busi­nesses, and most sales is pro­cessed within a net­work of re­peat buy­ers. The fa­cil­ity to chat on­line helps re­sellers iden­tify trusted buy­ers within their net­work.

“We strongly be­lieve that Meesho’s so­cial re­selling model is highly suit­able for the great num­ber of new-to-in­ter­net buy­ers,” said Tuck Lye Koh, found­ing part­ner and chief ex­ec­u­tive at Shun­wei Cap­i­tal.

Meesho co-founders Sanjeev Barn­wal (left) and Vidit Aa­trey.

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