Indian-based e-commerce platform Meesho has announced the closure of a new ZAR 1.9 Bn funding round that was led by Naspers. Facebook and other existing investors; SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway, Former Vodafone Group CEO Sir Arun Sarin also took part in the funding round.
Meesho is an online reseller network of housewives and SMBs, who sell products within their network on social channels. The platform enables independent resellers to build small businesses by connecting them with suppliers. The company also provides logistics and payment tools.
The new investment will enable the company expand its services outside India’s major metro regions by creating more entrepreneurs. This investment will also “strengthen Meesho’s aim to grow its community of women entrepreneurs who have dreamt of running their own businesses but lacked the funds and expertise to do so.”
The platform also intends to channel some funds to building a technology platform to include more product lines as well as upgrade its analytics and machine learning platforms to handle national scale. Additionally, the company plans to deepen its operations in areas where the services are available.
The company which aims to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020 has so far engineered a network of more than 2 million ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in India. It has also created a distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs.
“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 percent 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.
“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.”
Shutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments, Naspers Ventures said the company was 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.”
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