Social mobile-commerce startup Meesho has raised series B funding of $11.5 million led by Sequoia India. Existing investors SAIF Partners, Y Combinator and Venture Highway also participated in the funding round.
The Bangalore-based Meesho was founded by IIT Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015. The startup provides an eponymous app which essentially connects suppliers to resellers, or small business owners like housewives, teachers, students etc, who then use social networks such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook to promote these products within their network. The startup also helps people to manage their e-tailing businesses with tools such as sourcing, logistics and payments tools. The app is currently available for Android platforms only.
The company claims that a typical Meesho social seller earns between Rs 20,000–25,000 per month by selling products across fashion, lifestyle and many other categories, and to date, Meesho has about 8 lakh social sellers in over 500 towns across India on its platform. It added that it has a customer base of 4 million users.
The company said in a statement that it will utilize this fresh raise to accelerate hiring and product development while expanding the categories on the platform. “With the new investment, we plan to double down on our mission to create 20M entrepreneurs over the next two years by expanding our suite of tools,” said Aatrey.
Meesho has raised $15M in total so far, the startup said in a statement.
In October 2017, it raised $3.1 million from SAIF Partners and its existing investors Y Combinator and Venture Highway. In August 2016, Meesho had raised undisclosed amount of funding from group of angel investors like VH Capital, Kashyap Deorah, Rajul Garg, Oyo Rooms’ Maninder Gulati, Abhishek Jain, Jaspreet Bindra among others. Prior to that, in July 2016, Meesho was selected by Y Combinator for a three-month programme based in US. As part of its programme, the accelerator invests $120,000 in startups against 7% equity stakes.
Social network biggies like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook already have offerings and platforms for small business owners (Instagram and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook). Early this year, WhatsApp officially launched the ‘WhatsApp Business App’ that is built for small businesses who use the platform to engage with customers, along with which the platform also added in-build payment feature in February this year. However, the full launch has been delayed as parent company Facebook battles concerns over privacy with regard to how users data will be stored and shared. Fintech major Paytm, has a separate e-commerce business Paytm Mall, which got $445 million (around Rs 2,900 crore) from Japan’s Softbank and existing investor Alibaba in April, is trying to build and offline-to-online business in a big way like Alibaba.Apart from these, Meesho competes with players like Shopmatic, Zepo, Kartrocket and Shopify.