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Sequoia Capital Leads $11.5 Mn Funding In Social Commerce Startup Meesho

Sequoia Capital Leads $11.5 Mn Funding In Social Commerce Startup Meesho

Proceeds From The Series B Round Will Be Used By Meesho To Ramp Up Its Tech Platform

Bengaluru-based social commerce startup Meesho has raised $11.5 Mn (INR 77 Cr) in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Existing investor SAIF Partners also participated in the latest equity financing round.

The startup is looking to utilise the raised funds to ramp up its tech platform and to strengthen its employee base across critical functions, such as product, supply, and technology.

“We are going to further build the product as we want to offer localised experiences and tools to resellers. We plan to enter newer categories, apart from lifestyle, by the end of the next quarter,” said Vidit Aatrey, chief executive of Meesho, in a media statement.

With the Series B round, the total amount of (disclosed) funding raised to date by Meesho has touched $15.2 Mn. This includes the previous rounds of funding in October 2017 ($3.1 Mn) and in August 2016 (undisclosed). Apart from SAIF Partners, other existing investors include YCombinator, Venture Highway, VH Capital, Kashyap Deorah, Rajul Garg, Oyo Rooms’ Maninder Gulati, Abhishek Jain, and Jaspreet Bindra, among others.

Prior to that, in July 2016, Meesho was selected by YCombinator for a three-month programme based out of its Mountain View headquarters. The accelerator invests $120K in selected startups for a 7% equity stake.

“Our thesis is that Meesho as a channel for selling products is just the starting point. We believe that it can go on to become a distribution channel for a range of push or impulse-driven products, such as holidays, education products and insurance, among many others,” said Mukul Arora, managing director at SAIF Partners.

An email sent to Meesho founders did not elicit any response till the time of publication.

Meesho: A Brief Overview

Founded by IIT graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho is a mobile-first e-commerce platform that caters to the specific needs of small businesses in India.

The network includes resellers, largely comprising housewives, who then use channels such as WhatsApp and social media platforms Facebook and Instagram to promote these products within their social circles.

The resellers can create their online shop and can also keep customers updated with new products, get new customers leads in real-time and collect payments over chat.

Meesho currently deals in sectors such as fashion, lifestyle, and home and kitchen and it’s also engaged in building a new distribution channel for suppliers and helping housewives earn from within their social networks.

Other major players in this space include Zepo, Shopmatic, and GlowRoad, among others. The latter two also raised significant investments last year to cater to the rising needs of small businesses in India.

According to a recent report by Google and the Boston Consulting Group, India has about 50 Mn registered small businesses and about one million of them are online, mostly selling through Facebook and WhatsApp. It is expected that 10 million of these businesses will be online by 2020.

Similarly, a recent Zinnov report stated that with India’s e-commerce market aiming to touch $220 Bn by 2025, the online housewive resellers are going to number 21-23 Mn by 2022. The report also stated that the online resellers space has been projected to grow to $48 Bn-$60 Bn by 2022.

But with WhatsApp soon coming into the picture to leverage this market with WhatsApp for Business, social e-commerce apps like Meesho will face strong competition in the future.

(The development was reported by ET)