Meesho Raises $125 Million in Funding Round Led by SA-based Naspers

Marco Green
August 14, 2019

Naspers has a history of backing startups in China and India.

Meesho, based in Bangalore, is what's known in the tech industry as a social commerce startup, allowing people to build connections online and then sell through services such as Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services.

Social commerce platform Meesho had started its Series D round with a promising investment of $25 million from none other than social media giant Facebook, becoming the Mark Zuckerberg led company's first direct investment in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Meesho, a social e-commerce startup, said Monday that it raised a United States dollars 125 million Series D led by Naspers with participation from existing investors including SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, and Venture Highway among others.

Meesho now has a network of over 2 million "social sellers" across 700 towns in India, and offers a distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs. "Our social sellers are small retailers, women, students and retired citizens, with 70 percent being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes", said Vidit Aatrey, CEO, Meesho.

"The company focuses largely on apparel, home, wellness and electronics items, and aims to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020, the statement said".

Cape Town-based Naspers is in the midst of deploying a close to United States dollars 10 billion war chest to scale up its e-commerce ventures and make new investments in online classifieds, payments and food delivery platforms.

"The exciting growth of e-commerce in India has hidden the fact that over 90% of Indians either can't or won't use it in its current form". The company has a great track record in the Indian market, helping to support and build some of the leading Indian e-commerce businesses. Meesho is trying to get these businesses, most of whom don't have working capital to enable their own online presence, sell online, Vidit Aatrey, Meesho co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Naspers Ventures' head of India investments Ashutosh Sharma said the global internet group had identified areas of consumer spend that have not yet been significantly disrupted by technology, and e-commerce in India fits the bill.

In June, Facebook made an investment in Meesho, which the company said at the time that it would help them further their efforts to enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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