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Naspers leads Meesho in raising $125 million for Indian Social Commerce

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Meesho Co-Founders Sanjeev Barnwal (left) and Vidit Aatrey (right). Image sourced from Meesho.
Meesho Co-Founders Sanjeev Barnwal (left) and Vidit Aatrey (right). Image sourced from Meesho.

On 12 August 2019, Meesho, an Indian online marketplace, announced the closing of a $125 million fundraiser led by Naspers,  multi-national media and internet group headquartered in South Africa. The fundraiser was aided by Facebook and existing investors such as SAIF Sequoia, RPS, Venture Highway and Shunwei Capital. In addition to this, former Vodafone Group CEO Sir Arun Sarin took part in the fundraiser.

Meesho claims to enable independent re-sellers to build small businesses by connecting them with suppliers in order to curate a catalogue of services, goods and products to sell. In addition to this, Meesho provides logistics and payment tools on its platform. The company is said to have a network of more than 2 million ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in. Meesho also claims to create a disruptive distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs. Meesho focuses on home, wellness, apparel and electronic goods, and has a mission to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020.

The money that was raised will be put towards the company’s mission statement in order to reach areas outside India’s major metro regions. Meesho will also use the funds to grow its community of women entrepreneurs who aim to have their own businesses but have lacked the knowledge or funds to achieve this goal.

“I am particularly proud that Meesho has cut across gender, education levels, risk appetites and vocations to create livelihoods for people with no investment of their own. Our social sellers are small retailers, women, students and retired citizens, with 70% being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes,” said Vidit Aatrey, Meesho Co-Founder and CEO.

Meesho, in addition to their previous goals, aims to use the funds to improve upon its technology platform in order to accommodate new product lines and evolve its analytics and machine learning platforms to cope on a national scale. Meesho also aims to expand its operations in existing regions.

“The exciting growth of e-commerce in India has hidden the fact that over 90 per cent of Indians either can’t or won’t use it in its current form. They want online shopping that enables them to buy from small businesses they trust. Meesho provides a way for these customers to get what they need – and we believe it is the future of online shopping for the next 500 million consumers,” said Aatrey. “We are delighted to welcome Naspers as our new investment partner. The company has a great track record in the Indian market, helping to support and build some of the leading Indian e-commerce businesses. We are excited to tap into their operational expertise scaling companies as we enter into our next stage of growth,” Aatrey added.

“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. We were attracted to Meesho because the team have 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. The phenomenal growth they are already experiencing shows that Meesho has hit a sweet spot in the market and is well-poised to serve the next 500 million online shoppers in the country,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments, Naspers Ventures.

Edited by Kojo Essah

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