[Funding alert] Social commerce startup Simsim raises $16M in three rounds within six months of its launch
Delhi-based vernacular social commerce startup Simsim has raised $16 million in funding in three rounds within six months of its launch. These rounds have happened in quick succession over the last seven months led by Accel Partners, Shunwei Capital, and Good Capital.
Founded in July 2019 by Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri, and Saurabh Vashishtha, in the past seven months, the startup's platform has garnered over one million users, working with over 1,200 micro-community influencers. The Simsim app is currently available to use in four different languages - Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, and English.
Most of its early customers are from Tier-II and III cities, with over 70 percent of its customers coming from outside of the top 10 cities in India.
“We have just begun our journey. Before the end of this year, we want to serve our customers in 20 different languages and target to have 10 million+ customers on the platform,” Amit Bagaria, Co-founder, Simsim, added.
The platform aims to provide its users with an experience similar to offline shopping by building and enabling a network of 'Community Opinion Leaders (COLs)', that play the role of the shopkeeper on its platform.
These COLs belong to the same micro-communities as the users, speak their language, and understand their cultural and consumption patterns. COLs have their store on the Simsim platform where they can select the catalogue they want to sell to their customers, create interesting content to engage with the users, and finally, sell to the end customer. Once a sale is made, payments and logistics are taken care of by the startup.
"The network of COLs that we are building, is critical to the social experience that the team intends to provide users. We don’t look at them as just content creators, we see them as new generation micro-entrepreneurs, running their online store," Amit added.
He said less than five percent of internet users in India shop online regularly. Those who do, limit their shopping basket to one-off use cases like mobile phones.
“The Indian consumer is used to a different shopping experience offline - one which is social and highly interactive. We go out and shop with friends or family. Each shop we enter has salespeople. All these people talk to us and help us discover and purchase the best products suited to our needs. These social interactions make our shopping experience fun and easy. Of course, all these interactions are in the local language and dialects. It is this experience and method of shopping which we are replicating at Simsim,” he added.
Simsim essentially provides users with customers, suppliers, payments, logistics, and technological tools. Speaking of their investment, Rohan Malhotra, Managing Partner at Good Capital, said,
“At Good Capital, we believe that India is a country of micro-entrepreneurs, middlemen, merchants, and traders. Offline businesses (and conventional ways of shopping) have placed human trust in the centre of this transaction. In addressing the next couple of hundred million people who are coming online, Simsim has found a way to emulate that comfort and behaviour and bring these users meaningfully online.”
(Edited by Suman Singh)