Meesho, an India-based social commerce platform has raised $300 million in a new funding round led by Softbank Vision. The funding has almost trebled the startup’s valuation from $700 million in 2019 to $2.1 billion. Existing investors Facebook Inc., Prosus Ventures, Venture Highway, Knollwood Investment, and Shunwei Capital also participated in the funding round.
This funding has enabled the startup to enter the coveted Unicorn club. It is the fourth startup in the country after Infra.Market, Digit, and Innovaccer to enter the unicorn category in 2021.
Meesho will be utilizing the funds in growing its vision from focusing on empowering aspiring women entrepreneurs to create a solo digital ecosystem for small businesses to succeed online. The startup claims that there has been tremendous growth across entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking to move to the online platform. It envisions enabling 100 million entrepreneurs and small businesses in digitizing their operations while investing heavily in growing and hiring its team across functions, products, and technology.
The small businesses that the startup is targeting include individual business owned and run by women homepreneurs and entrepreneurs who have become successful and financially independent over the years through Meesho.
The startup will go up against established players such as Amazon, Flipkart, Reliance Industries and others as it forays into the space of digitizing India’s small and medium businesses. While these giants are eyeing profits by entering this untapped market and eliminating layers of inefficiencies in distribution, they also want to use SMBs to reach to consumers, especially in small cities and towns.
Meesho is also facing increasing completion from some new players in the social commerce space like Glowroad, Dealshare, Kiko TV, and Shop101. All the new entrants connect sellers with consumers through social networks and also provide others services that are needed for e-tailing in the country.
The startup aims to simplify ecommerce for SMBs in India and to build a platform that will enable small businesses and even informal sellers. Thus enabling these small business owners to reach consumers through multiple channels- direct Meesho consumers, its entrepreneur network, and seller owned partnerships and storefronts.
The company founded in 2015 by IIT alumni’s Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey is an online reselling platform that enables anyone to start a business without investment. The platform connects re-sellers with manufacturers where sellers can sell their products to consumers through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
Meesho leverages the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a platform for small business owners where they can sell their products to the users. It also offers services such as logistics and payments to the re-sellers which enables ease of sales and transactions.
Meesho has more than 45 million users across the country and has on-boarded more than 65000 suppliers that are selling over 5 million products. The company claims that it has delivered orders to over 4800 cities covering 26000 pincodes with a majority of those being in tier two cities and has generated an income of more than INR 500 crore.