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Facebook-Backed Indian E-Commerce Platform Meesho Raises $125 Million

Facebook invested $25 million in an Indian e-commerce start-up, Meesho, in June 2019. Today, the start-up has gained another $125 million in Series D funding. In its latest funding round, led by South African internet group Naspers, the e-commerce start-up has become part of Cape Town-based Naspers’ $10 billion war chest. According to Reuters, Naspers is expected to further scale up its e-commerce ventures and make new investments in online classifieds, payments and food delivery platforms.

Meesho also plans to extend its platform to accommodate new product lines.

Naspers said that the investment, in addition to funding for education technology start-up BYJU’S and online food delivery business Swiggy, showed it was committed to India across multiple sectors.

At the time of this funding round, Ashutosh Sharma, head of India investments at Naspers Ventures, said, “Globally, Naspers identifies big areas of consumer spend that have not yet been significantly disrupted by technology, and India e-commerce certainly fits the bill.”

Ashutosh added, “We were attracted to Meesho because the team has built a uniquely Indian solution that utilizes the reach and scales the internet enables and harnesses and makes it available for small sellers to better serve customers no matter where they live.”

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U.S. tech giant Facebook also took part in the funding round, together with existing Meesho investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway. Former Vodafone Group Chief Executive Sir Arun Sarin also participated.

What Meesho Does?

Founded in 2015, Meesho raised its seed funding in January 2016. Over the last four years, the company has grown into a community of more than 15,000 suppliers and 2,000,000 resellers throughout India. The CEO had confirmed that their common goal with Facebook  is “to enable the community and help small businesses grow.”

Today, the Meesho platform allows re-sellers of everything from jewelry to mobile phones to reach prospective customers via social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Meesho has built a network of more than 2 million sellers across 700 towns in India and created a disruptive distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs. The company has a mission to create 20 million entrepreneurs by 2020.

The new funds will allow Mesho to expand further outside India’s major metropolitan regions, reaching remote customers not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces, Naspers said in a statement.

Naspers’ other investments in India include online classifieds business OLX, online travel company MakeMyTrip and payments business PayU.

Meesho co-founder and CEO, Vidit Aatrey welcomed Naspers’ involvement, citing the South African company’s previous experience in Indian e-commerce.

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