E-commerce startup Meesho raises $50m from China’s Shunwei, DST, others

Meesho co-founders Sanjeev Barnwal (left) and Vidit Aatrey. Photo: Mint

Less than five months after raising its last round of funds, Meesho, one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in the country, has raised $50 million in Series C funding from new investors including Shunwei Capital, DST Partners and RPS Ventures, the company said on Tuesday. Existing investors including Sequoia India, SAIF Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator also participated in the round. Till date, the social e-commerce firm has raised nearly $65 million over three funding rounds.

Founded in 2015 by IIT-Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, Meesho operates as an online marketplace, which connects resellers directly with raw material suppliers. A majority of the resellers on the platform are homemakers, small business owners, small boutique brands and those who sell art and craft, fashion wear, home and kitchen products.

Meesho plans to use the fresh funds to build a stronger product and scale its technology team. The Bengaluru-based company recently launched personal care and nutrition categories on its platform and is piloting new segments.

“We want to build out a supply base—domestically and internationally as in importing from China. On the demand side we have been focused on expanding on our user segment—from housewives about a year ago to now a considerable chunk of our users who are students and working professionals,” said Aatrey, co-founder and chief executive officer at Meesho over the phone.

Meesho, which claims to have grown more than 100x in topline (sales) over the last 12 months, is among the few firms that have attracted investor interest after venture capital firms shied away from investing in e-commerce in late 2015.

More than 30% of Meesho’s user-base is non-English and it plans to launch in new vernacular languages over time to go deeper into smaller towns and cities. Currently, it has over 1 million resellers on its platform. For every transaction, a reseller makes a 10-20% commission.

RPS ventures, set up by SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Kabir Misra, was looking to invest in Meesho and insurance provider Ackho, Mint reported on Monday.

“We (RPS) are hoping to assist them with our accumulated experience in the sector to further grow their business in India and beyond,” said Misra, founder and managing partner, RPS Ventures.

Meesho’s business model is largely built around small and medium businesses, and most sales is processed within a network of repeat buyers. The facility to chat online helps resellers identify trusted buyers within their network.

“We strongly believe that Meesho’s social reselling model is highly suitable for the great number of new-to-internet buyers,” said Tuck Lye Koh, founding partner and chief executive at Shunwei Capital.

Shopping on social media services including Whatsapp and Facebook account for roughly 80% of India’s total commerce, according to a PayPal Report. Of late, investors have started pouring money into social commerce startups such as Shop101, Glowroad and Ezmall to capture the next 500 million internet users.

“Going ahead it’s going to be a massive business as such, maybe bigger than any of the e-commerce companies you have seen,” said Aatrey.

Also Read:

Social e-commerce startup Meesho in talks to raise funding from DST Global

India: Essel Group-backed e-commerce platform Ezmall seeks fresh funding

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.