The Hindu Business Line

So­cial com­merce start-up Meesho raises $125 m in Naspers-led fund­ing

Funds to be used to kick-start e-comm for the ‘next 500 mil­lion’ on­line shop­pers

- Business · Small Business · Entrepreneurship · Social Media · Startups · Venture Capital · Investing · Naspers · Bangalore · Facebook · Vodafone · Belgium · India · Iceland · Whatsapp · Instagram

Bengaluru-based Meesho, an on­line re­seller net­work for In­dian en­trepreneur­s and con­sumers, an­nounced the clos­ing of a $125-mil­lion fund-raise led by Naspers, with par­tic­i­pa­tion from Face­book and ex­ist­ing in­vestors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Cap­i­tal, RPS, and Ven­ture High­way.

For­mer Voda­fone Group CEO Arun Sarin, too, par­tic­i­pated in the round.

Deep­en­ing oper­a­tions

The new funds will be used to make in­roads into non-metro re­gions, by cre­at­ing more en­trepreneur­s.

It will also strengthen Meesho’s aim to grow its com­mu­nity of women en­trepreneur­s.

The funds will be used to build its tech­nol­ogy plat­form to ac­com­mo­date new prod­uct lines, evolve its an­a­lyt­ics and ma­chine learn­ing plat­forms to scale up In­dia pres­ence and deepen oper­a­tions in other ge­ogra­phies.

Fo­cussed largely on ap­par­els, and home, well­ness and elec­tron­ics items, the start-up’s mis­sion is to cre­ate 20 mil­lion en­trepreneur­s by 2020 Boost­ing en­trepreneur­s

Founded by IITDelhi grad­u­ates Vidit Aa­trey and San­jeev Barn­wal in De­cem­ber 2015, Meesho is the coun­try’s largest so­cial com­merce plat­form that en­ables in­di­vid­u­als to start an on­line busi­ness with zero in­vest­ment by con­nect­ing them with sup­pli­ers Meesho founders San­jeev Barn­wal (left) and Vidit Aa­trey

to cu­rate a cat­a­logue of goods and ser­vices to sell.

Th­ese ‘so­cial sellers’ then trans­act within their so­cial net­works. The start-up has so far en­abled over 2 mil­lion so­cial sellers across 700 towns to sell via What­sApp, Face­book, In­sta­gram by pro­vid­ing prod­ucts, and lo­gis­tics and pay­ment tools on the plat­form.

The start-up has cre­ated a dis­rup­tive dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel for 15,000 sup­pli­ers in tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs.

Fo­cussed largely on ap­par­els, and home, well­ness and elec­tron­ics items, the startup’s mis­sion is to cre­ate 20 mil­lion en­trepreneur­s by 2020.

“I am par­tic­u­larly proud that Meesho has cut across gen­der, ed­u­ca­tion lev­els, risk ap­petites and vo­ca­tions to cre­ate liveli­hoods for peo­ple with no in­vest­ment of their own. Our so­cial sellers are small re­tail­ers, women, stu­dents and re­tired cit­i­zens, with 70 per cent be­ing homemak­ers who have found fi­nan­cial free­dom and a busi­ness iden­tity with­out hav­ing to step out­side their homes,” said Vidit Aa­trey, co-founder and CEO.

“The ex­cit­ing growth of ecom­merce in In­dia has hid­den the fact that over 90 per cent of In­di­ans ei­ther can’t or won’t use it in its cur­rent form. They want on­line shop­ping that en­ables them to buy from small busi­nesses they trust.

“Meesho pro­vides a way for th­ese cus­tomers to get what they need, and we be­lieve it is the fu­ture of on­line shop­ping for the next 500 mil­lion con­sumers,” he added.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India