[Funding Alert] Facebook-backed Meesho raises $125M by Naspers and others
After raising funding from social media giant Facebook in June, Meesho, a Bengaluru-based social commerce platform that helps resellers and emerging brands build businesses using social media, raised Series D funding of $125 million in a round led by Naspers Ventures.
Meesho's existing investors Facebook, SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway, along with Former Vodafone Group CEO Sir Arun Sarin also participated in the round.
Founded by IIT Delhi alumni Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho has created an alternate distribution channel by empowering housewives, young mothers, aspiring entrepreneurs, students, and teachers, to launch, build, and promote their online businesses using WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels.
Its app is available in more than seven local languages other than English, and about 40 percent of its daily usage comes from a non-English speaking audience.
The company said that the new funds will allow 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 ecommerce marketplaces.
The latest investment will also strengthen Meesho’s aim to grow its community of women entrepreneurs who have dreamt of running their own businesses but lacked the funds and expertise to do so, it added in a statement.
Vidit Aatrey, Meesho Co-founder and CEO said,
“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 percent being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes.”
Meesho plans to use the new funds to further build its technology platform to accommodate new product lines, and to evolve its analytics and machine learning platforms to handle national scale. At the same time, in addition to expanding its network coverage to new geographies, the company will further deepen its operations in existing geographies.
Meesho claims that it has built a network of more than two million ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in India, and create a disruptive distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs. With a focus on apparel, home, wellness, and electronics items, the company has a mission to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020.
Ashutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments, Naspers Ventures added that the phenomenal growth they are already experiencing shows that Meesho has hit a sweet spot in the market and is well-poised to serve the next 500 million online shoppers in the country.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)