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
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.
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.