Indian social commerce startup Meesho raises $125m led by Naspers

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

Social commerce platform Meesho has raised $125 million in a round led by South Africa’s Naspers with participation from Facebook and existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway, said the company on Monday. Former Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin also participated in the round.

Meesho has built a network of more than 2 million ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in India, along with a distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs. With current focus largely on apparel, home, wellness and electronics items, the company has a mission to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020.

The new funds will be used to make deeper inroads in areas outside India’s major metro regions and to grow its community of women entrepreneurs. Meesho also plans to use the new funds to further build its technology platform to accommodate new product lines, and to evolve its analytics and machine learning platforms to handle national scale.

“Globally, Naspers identifies big areas of consumer spending that have not yet been significantly disrupted by technology and India e-commerce certainly fits the bill,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of India investments, Naspers Ventures. “We were attracted to Meesho because the team has built a uniquely Indian solution that utilizes the reach and scale the internet enables, and harnesses and makes it available for small sellers to better serve customers no matter where they live, for the benefit of all.”

Mint reported on 12 August that Meesho was in talks to raise funds and has held some early-stage conversations with Japan’s SoftBank.

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.