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Meesho becomes unicorn after raising $300 million in Softbank-led round

Indian social commerce platform Meesho raised $300 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the company announced on Monday. This Series E round puts Meesho’s valuation at $2.1 billion, making it India’s latest unicorn. In 2019, the company was valued at $700 million.

Existing investors Prosus Ventures, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment also participated in this round, the company stated. This is Shunwei Capital’s first investment in India in over a year, after India’s new rules required Chinese companies to seek approval before investing in the country, TechCrunch reported.

“With the new round of funding, we are extremely thrilled to have SoftBank onboard. We are focused on expanding our vision — from helping aspiring women entrepreneurs to creating Meesho as a single ecosystem that will enable all small businesses in India to succeed online. In the last one year, we have seen tremendous growth across small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to move their businesses online. And with our new vision we will enable 100 million small businesses to start, succeed and lead their operations online with Meesho as their partner in their journey.” — Founder and CEO, Meeso Vidit Aatrey

Meesho simplifies e-commerce for small businesses and entrepreneurs, specifically women entrepreneurs, by allowing them to sell through social channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram. In addition to facing competition from other social commerce companies like Dealshare, Glowroad, and Shop101, Meesho also is up against giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance Industries who are all trying to make inroads in bringing small business and neighbourhood stores online.

The Bangalore-headquartered company has so far enabled over 13 million entrepreneurs, mostly women, to bring their business online. Founded in 2015, Meesho was one of the three Indian companies selected by Y Combinator for 2016. In 2019, the company received funding from Facebook, the social media giant’s first investment in an Indian start-up.

“Globally, SoftBank has always been excited to back founders that provide unique solutions for the local market. We look forward to being a part of this journey.” – Munish Varma, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers

SoftBank has been tracking Meesho for over 18 months now and has been impressed by its “growth, daily engagement metrics, focus on unit economics and ability to create a strong team,” Sumer Juneja, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers said. Over the last 12 months, Meesho has seen a 10-fold growth in monthly transaction users and 6-fold growth in monthly orders. It was also ranked 14th in Fast Company’s 2020 list of 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world.

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