India’s Meesho, which enables social commerce via WhatsApp, raises $50M

Meesho, a Bangalore-based social commerce startup, has closed a $50 million investment to grow its business in its Indian homeland ahead of future international expansion.
This Series C round means that Meesho, which graduated Y Combinator in 2016, has now raised three funding rounds in the past year. Its $3.4 million Series A came in October 2017 with an $11.5 million Series B closing in June of this year. That’s quite the rollercoaster and over the last year, Meesho has seen its top line revenue grow by over 100X so co-founder and CEO Vidit Aatrey told TechCrunch in an interview.
This time around, the $50 million raise includes new investors Shunwei Capital from China, DST Partners and RPS Ventures, as well as returning backers Sequoia India, SAIF Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator.
Meesho has adjusted its focus considerably since it graduated YC, and today it operates as an enabler for people in India wanting to sell products using social media. Primarily the focus is WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging app which counts India as its largest market with over 200 million monthly users.
The company providers sellers with products (which it sources from suppliers) and inventory management and other basic seller tools. In turn, sellers hawk their catalog to friends and family as they please. Meesho handles all payment and logistics, providing a cut of the transaction to sellers.
Interestingly, there’s no fixed price for products. That means that sellers can vary the price and even haggle with their customers just as they’d do in real life.
“We want to simulate the exact experience that happens offline,” Aatrey explained. “Sellers have the liberty to sell to 10 different people at 10 different prices.”
Sales typically happen between friends and family because there is a trusted relationship. Selling consistently to family members doesn’t seem like an easy task, but Meesho operates in a range of verticals, including fashion, living, cosmetics and more, which the company said makes repeat custom easier. The firm is working on technology that helps sellers figure out which products to push to their customer list, but Aatrey believes a good seller has a knack for what their customers will want on a given day or week.
Aatrey — who started Meesho with fellow IIT-Delhi graduate Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015 — told TechCrunch that the startup is picky about who it selects as a seller, and those who are not active enough are removed from the platform — although he said the latter doesn’t happen a lot. Instead, Meesho offers training and skill development programs to sellers who perform well.
“We go and intentionally invest more to scale up the sellers who show more promise,” he explained.
India’s Meesho, which enables social commerce via WhatsApp, raises $50M
(Left to right) Meesho founders Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey
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