Go-Ventures leads $7.5m funding in Indian social commerce startup Mall91

Photo: Mint

Social commerce startup Mall91 on Monday said it has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round, reflecting heavy investor interest in the space.

The investment was led by Go-Ventures, the investment arm of ride-hailing firm GoJek, one of Southeast Asia’s most valued startups. Other investors included its existing backers — venture capital firms Beenext, Kalaari Capital, and AngelList India.

Mall91’s social commerce platform combines various functions onto one platform, including gaming, video, chat, and social shopping features. It is targeting the next 400 million users who speak various regional languages across Tier 2,3 and 4 cities in India.

Mall91 plans to use the funds to grow the business by expanding to other top 8 local languages, amplify its supply chain capabilities domestically and internationally while also expanding its engineering, operations, marketing, and support teams, said co-founder and CEO Nitin Raj Gupta.

Social commerce startups have seen rising investor interest over the past year or so, as these firms seek to tap into small-town India, which has large user bases and are coming online and using social media more than ever before.

Meesho, a platform that connects manufacturers with re-sellers, who eventually sell these products to users through social media platforms, raised $120 million in a funding round in August this year led by South African media and internet giant Naspers.

Sequoia Capital’s accelerator program Surge announced its second batch on Wednesday. This too had a social commerce startup, Chilibeli, which connects farmers, suppliers and consumers through the company’s network of agents to bring products to households.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.