New unicorn: Meesho raises fresh $300 m in funding led by SoftBank fund

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April 6, 2021 2:00 AM

Social commerce start-up Meesho on Monday said it has raised a fresh $300 million in funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The investment marks the company’s entry into the unicorn club, valuing it at $2.1 billion.

dollarSuppliers list their product catalogue on the Meesho app, which, in turn, can be sold by individual entrepreneurs to their contacts by leveraging their network on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Social commerce start-up Meesho on Monday said it has raised a fresh $300 million in funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The investment marks the company’s entry into the unicorn club, valuing it at $2.1 billion.

The social commerce platform was valued at about $700 million in 2019 when it secured $125 million in capital from a clutch of investors.

The latest financial round also saw participation from existing investors Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment, the company said. So far, Meesho has raised $490 million in funding.

A good part of the fresh capital will be deployed to create services aimed at bringing more small businesses into the digital fold. The firm plans to build on its platform and introduce policies and tools that will enable even the smallest of sellers to list and do business on Meesho.

“Meesho’s vision is to enable 100 million small businesses to succeed online in India. These small businesses include individual businesses owned and run by women entrepreneurs and home-preneurs,” the company said.

Meesho follows a reselling model. Suppliers list their product catalogue on the Meesho app, which, in turn, can be sold by individual entrepreneurs to their contacts by leveraging their network on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Founded in 2015, the firm claims to have helped over 13 million individual entrepreneurs to start their own online businesses.

Founder & CEO Vidit Aatrey said the company’s base of monthly transacting entrepreneurs have grown nearly 10 times while monthly orders have grown almost six times over the last 12 months. Aatrey said the 13 million women entrepreneurs have been able to connect with more than 100,000 suppliers to reach nearly 50 million customers across 4,800 cities through Meesho.

Part of the funds will also be used to hire more staff across categories, including tech, product, and business.

Meesho competes with players like DealShare, Shop101 and Glowroad in the space.

Indian social commerce, which is a $1.5-2 billion market today (in terms of GMV), is estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion in just five years — and will likely hit nearly $70 billion by 2030, according to analysts at Bain & Company. More than 50% of customers for social commerce players come from tier two cities and beyond.

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