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Social commerce startup Meesho reaches unicorn status as SoftBank, Facebook, and others infuse USD 300 million

Written by Avanish Tiwary Published on     2 mins read

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Last year, Meesho entered the Indonesian market, where social commerce is much more mature than India.

Facebook-backed social commerce giant Meesho said Monday it has raised USD 300 million in its Series E round of funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the startup at USD 2.1 billion.

The funding round also saw participation from Facebook, Prosus Ventures, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment.

Having raised USD 490 million to date, Meesho has become the fourth Indian company this year to enter the much-coveted unicorn club, a status given to companies valued at USD 1 billion or more.

Bengaluru-based Meesho, co-founded by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, is an online marketplace that allows individuals—largely women and students—to buy products in bulk and sell them to friends, family, and acquaintances at a premium price. On behalf of the sellers, the company takes care of all the operations such as order management, product catalogs, last-mile delivery, and digital payments.

Meesho claims that 13 million entrepreneurs have their digital shops on its platform and has enabled them to earn more than INR 500 crore (USD 681 million).

“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,” Vidit Aatrey, co-founder and CEO of Meesho, said in a statement.

Aatrey said the fresh funding will be used to grow its talent pool and bring 100 million new sellers online.

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Last year, the company started operations in Indonesia. “Social commerce as behavior is much more mature here [Jakarta] than what it is in India…That means you have more touchpoints with customers. Secondly, the average disposable income of Indonesians is more than India’s. The tendency to do impulse buying is stronger than in India,” Prateek Agarwal, Meesho vice president of international business, told KrASIA in an interview last year.

“We have been closely tracking Meesho for the last 18 months and have been impressed by its growth, daily engagement metrics, focus on unit economics, and ability to create a strong team,” said Sumer Juneja, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Meesho competes with platforms like Sop101, GlowRoad, and SimSim, in which Shunwei is also an investor. India’s social commerce market is expected to reach USD 7 billion by 2025, according to market research firm RedSeer Consulting. The players in this space will face competition from short video platforms such as Chingari and Trell which have started integrating e-commerce features in videos posted by users and influencers.

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