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Indian social commerce solution Meesho raises $50m

Tim Maytom

Meesho, an Indian social commerce startup based in Bangalore, has closed a $50m (£38.2m) investment found that will be used to fuel its growth in its home region, ahead of future international expansion plans.

The Series C round was led by new investors Shunwei Capital, DST Partners and RPS Ventures, as well as existing backers Sequoia India, SAIF Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator, which Meesho graduated from in 2016.

The company focuses on enabling commerce over social media, primarily WhatsApp, which boasts over 200m monthly active users in India, it's largest market. Meesho provides sellers with both digital tools like inventory management and online commerce software, as well as physical products sourced from suppliers. Meesho handles both payment and delivery, but the sellers, who offer the products to friends, family and other social media connections, receive a cut of the transaction and can set their own prices.

Meesho has reportedly seen its top line revenue increase by over 100-fold since launching, and its funding round reflect that. It raised $3.4m in October 2017, $11.5m in a Series B round that closed in June, and has now brought in even more cash.

The company is selective about who becomes a seller, with members who aren't active enough removed from the platform, while high performers gain access to training and skill development programs. In addition, the firm operates across a range of verticals, including fashion, cosmetics and homewares, making it easier for sellers to ensure repeat custom among their social network.

Meesho has over 2m sellers already registered, but is aiming to reach 20m by 2020. 80 per cent of its members are female, largely due to the company heavily targeting housewives when it started, but it is seeing growth among men, and nearly one-third of sellers are students, using the app as a supplementary source of income.