Meesho, the Bengaluru-based social commerce platform that helps resellers and emerging brands build businesses using social media, has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round. The round was led by new investors Shunwei Capital, RPS Ventures and DST Partners. Existing investors SAIF Partners, Venture Highway, Y Combinator and Sequoia India also participated.
"The focus of this fund raise will be to bring in supply-depth in existing categories, add more categories, and scale the technology and product teams. We are also looking at scaling the domestic and international supply base," says Vidit Aatrey, Co-founder of Meesho.
The company was founded by Vidit and Sanjeev Barnwal, IIT-Delhi alumni, in 2015, and aims to create 20 million successful entrepreneurs by 2020.
"We first invested in Meesho a little over a year back, and have been really impressed by the pace at which the company has grown. This has been made possible by the quality of the leadership team that Vidit has built and his relentless focus on customer experience. We are thrilled to continue backing them and welcome all the new investors to this partnership," said Mukul Arora, Managing Director, SAIF Partners.
The platform has created an alternate distribution channel by empowering housewives, young mothers, aspiring entrepreneurs, students, teachers, to launch, build and promote their online businesses using WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media channels.
“We’ve witnessed 10x growth over the last six months and have made significant progress in improving the experience of our sellers and consumers,” said Vidit, adding, “With this new round of funding and the strong team we’ve built at Meesho, we are confident we will continue to create value for our resellers and suppliers, and reach end consumers not served well by traditional e-commerce models.”
The app is currently available in seven local languages other than English, and 30-40 percent of its daily usage comes from a non-English speaking audience. Vidit added that they will continue to focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and create a strong long tail. The team believes that the idea of Meesho is to give offline stores a unique online experience while retaining the local flavour of offline stores. Vidit said that from day one, the platform has given WhatsApp-based sellers the ability to play with prices and margins.
Tuck Lye Koh, Founding Partner and CEO of Shunwei Capital, said in a press statement shared by the company, "Social e-commerce is the next big thing in the e-commerce space of India. We strongly believe that Meesho’s social reselling model is highly suitable for the great number of new-to-Internet buyers. It's our pleasure to work with the excellent team of Meesho on this exciting opportunity."
The team claims that most sellers earn between Rs 20,o00 and Rs 25,000 per month through their platform. The products range across fashion, lifestyle and other categories.
"Social commerce is finally enabling everyone - women and men across all age groups - to become micro entrepreneurs. Women can now start their businesses online without any investment. Sequoia India is excited to lead the investment in Meesho, a company that in many ways has enabled tens of thousands of women to take control of their own destiny by starting their own businesses and earning an independent income," said Mohit Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors.
Meesho now works as an online platform and also sources logistics and payments tools which help their social sellers launch, build and promote online businesses using WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media channels.
“RPS is thrilled to partner with one of the most innovative and differentiated eCommerce platforms in India. It has great investors and an amazing young entrepreneur at the helm. We are hoping to assist them with our accumulated experience in the sector to further grow their business in India and beyond," said Kabir Misra Founder and Managing Partner, RPS Ventures.
To date, Meesho has enabled over 800,000 social sellers in over 500 towns across India to start and grow their businesses with zero capital cost. Together, the small businesses on Meesho’s platform currently reach over 4 million consumers.