Social networking giant Facebook Thursday announced it has picked up minority stake in Meesho, an Indian startup that helps entrepreneurs set up online businesses via social channels.
No financial details of the transaction were disclosed.
Meesho has previously raised about USD 65 million from a clutch of investors, including DST Partners, RPS Ventures, Shunwei Capital, SAIF Partners, Sequoia India and Y Combinator.
"There are three reasons for making this investment. One, we are very excited by the founders and the team. Second is their focus on tier II and III cities, so they sort of addressing the new India that's showing up on the internet beyond the large metros," Facebook India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan told PTI.
Another deciding factor was the base of two million resellers on Meesho's platform, of which about 80 per cent are women entrepreneurs, he added.
"...it is fueling female entrepreneurship, and therefore driving the job creation agenda. So for us, we saw a huge opportunity for really, for us to play the role to be an ally for India's economic growth," he noted.
This is the company's second investment in India. In 2014, Facebook had acquired Hyderabad-based Little Eye Labs that built performance analysis and monitoring tools for mobile app developers.
Meesho, a social commerce platform, provides small and independent entrepreneurs with products and tools to start and grow their businesses. It facilitates a three-way marketplace enabling resellers, SMBs, and micro-entrepreneurs across India to connect with potential buyers using social media.
Vidit Aatrey, co-founder of Meesho, said over the last four years, the company has grown from its humble beginnings at IIT to 15,000 suppliers and 20 lakh resellers throughout India.
"We share a common goal with Facebook - to enable community and help small businesses grow. This commitment from Facebook will help us leapfrog towards our goal," he added.
Asked if Facebook would invest in more Indian startups, Mohan said the company is "open to explore conversations".
"We're not setting up an India fund. That means there's no deterministic model or timeline for investments that may come with setting up a fund... we're open to explore conversations, and impact will be the sole lens that we apply... (if) we feel there are opportunities and there are partners who see value in us being on the table and participating, we will explore that," he said.
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