Indian social commerce startup Meesho said on 5 April that it has raised $300 million in a new round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, taking its valuation to $2.1 billion.
The founder and chief executive officer of Meesho, Vidit Aatrey said that in the last year, the company has seen “tremendous growth” across small businesses and entrepreneurs who are seeking to move their businesses online.
“We are focused on expanding our vision from focusing on enabling aspiring women entrepreneurs to create Meesho as a single ecosystem that will enable all small businesses to succeed online,” said Aatrey as reported by Tech Crunch.
The New Unicorn
Meesho operates a vast online marketplace that connects small and medium sellers with customers on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram and also Facebook.
The platform’s offerings include online payments, order management, taking care of logistics and real-time shopping updates. It also allows businesses to get their customers to subscribe.
Its latest capital raising exercise has almost tripled the company’s valuation compared to when it raised $125 million in 2019 — it was valued at around $700 million at that time.
This has made Meesho the fourth domestic startup — after 'Digit’, the healthcare company ‘Innovaccer’ and the tech firm ‘Infra.market’ — in 2021 to become the new unicorn, comprising private enterprises valued at $1 billion or more.
Meesho said their investors such as Prosus Ventures, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, Knollwood Investment and Facebook also participated in the new round.
For Small Businesses And Women
The company, based in India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Bengaluru, said that it aims to enable 100 million small firms, as well as entrepreneurs to digitise their businesses as it expands the scope of its business.
Sumer Juneja, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement: “We have been closely tracking Meesho for the last 18 months and have been impressed by their growth, daily engagement metrics, focus on unit economics and ability to create a strong team.”
“We believe Meesho provides an efficient platform for SME suppliers and social resellers to onboard the e-commerce revolution in India and help them provide a personalised experience to consumers,” the statement added.
Munish Varma, who is the managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers said that Meesho has created a platform for many small business owners to sell to the next cohort of Internet users by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We look forward to being a part of this journey,” added Varma.
But by entering the area to digitise India’s small and medium-sized businesses, Meesho will go up against the giants like Reliance, Amazon, Flipkart and others. Even though it is facing challenges from new competitors in the social commerce space such as Glowroad, Shop101, and Dealshare, the growth of Meesho remains unaffected.
Meesho said that it helped 13 million entrepreneurs — a majority of whom are women — to sell their products such as apparel, electronic items and home appliances online through its platform.
When Meesho entered the market, it noticed that women from across India, especially home-based entrepreneurs were seeking new ways to grow their businesses and create a new professional identity for themselves.
Since most women were already using social media sites to connect with the buyers, at that time Meesho brought all these insights together to create a new and strong business model.
Now, it has more than 65,000 suppliers that sell over five million products and made Rs 500 crore in income for entrepreneurs using the platform. It has a base of around 45 million customers in India and has delivered orders to 26,000 pin codes in more than 4,800 cities in the country.
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