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