The Bengaluru-based firm, the first Indian start-up Facebook invested an equity stake in, was last valued at $700 million when it raised funds from Facebook, Naspers and others in August 2019. The latest round, which more than doubled its valuation, also saw participation from existing investors Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment. Facebook had in 2019 invested $25 million in the firm, which provides resellers, who largely comprise housewives and small businesses, with a platform to sell their products across social networks like WhatsApp and Facebook.
Meesho will use the funds to strengthen its talent pool across verticals — technology, product, and business, among others.
“We take pride at the rate of speed and the scale at which Meesho has grown, positively impacting millions of lives, and creating exponential learning along the way,” said Vidit Aatrey, founder and CEO of Meesho. “With the new round of funding, we are extremely thrilled to have SoftBank on board. We are focused on expanding our vision — from helping aspiring women entrepreneurs to creating Meesho as a single ecosystem that will enable all small businesses in India to succeed online.” He added that the company’s “new vision” was to enable 100 million small businesses to start, succeed and lead their operations online with Meesho.
Social commerce — or buying and selling directly through a social media platform such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Twitter — is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. “Globally, SoftBank has always been excited to back founders that provide unique solutions for the local market. By using the power of AI and machine learning, Meesho has created a platform for many small business owners to sell to the next cohort of internet users. We look forward to being a part of this journey,” said Munish Varma, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Over the past six years, Meesho has enabled over 13 million individual entrepreneurs to start their own online businesses with zero investment, bringing the benefits of e-commerce to more than 45 million customers in the country.