Even as speculation is rife about a SoftBank Vision Fund investment, social ecommerce startup Meesho has announced closing a $125 Mn funding round led by Naspers, with participation from Facebook and existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway.
“The new funds will enable strides towards this goal by allowing the company to make deeper inroads in areas outside India’s major metro regions, by creating more entrepreneurs, and as a result reaching remote customers not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces,” the company said in a release.
Meesho also said that this fund raise will help it grow its community of women entrepreneurs who have dreamt of running their own businesses but lacked the funds and expertise to do so.
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“Our social sellers are small retailers, women, students and retired citizens, with 70% being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes,” said Vidit Aatrey, Meesho cofounder and CEO.
Meesho is an online reseller network for individuals and SMBs, who sell products within their network on social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. The company has so far raised a total of $90.2 Mn since its launch in 2015 by IIT graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal.
The social commerce category where Meesho operates is expected to grow multifold in India with its tightly-knit and disparate social network. According to Statista, over 2.14 Bn people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online by 2021. Further, social platforms having a large user base like WhatsApp (400 Mn), Facebook (241 Mn) and Instagram (72 Mn) will act as a potential catalyst to fuel this growth. Bengaluru-based Meesho said it has built a network of more than 2 Mn ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in India, as well as created a distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs.
“We were attracted to Meesho because the team have built a uniquely Indian solution that utilizes the reach and scale the internet enables…Meesho has hit a sweet spot in the market and is well-poised to serve the next 500 million online shoppers in the country,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of India investments, Naspers Ventures.
Meesho was part of the 2018 edition of the most coveted list of India’s most innovative startups — 42Next by Inc42.