By Arun Kumar

Meesho, an online marketplace that facilitates micro entrepreneurship, raised $125 million from a group of investors led by Naspers and Facebook among others. Existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway and former Vodafone Group CEO Arun Sarin also participated in the round.

The online marketplace connects resellers with suppliers, and is now moving to target retailers and small shop owners to increase its addressable market. Resellers on Meesho use platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram to sell their products.

More than 80% of this fund has come from Naspers and Facebook, said the person familiar with the development. “This round of funding has been done at a valuation of about $700 million,” he added.

ET reported the news in June this year. Meesho is the leading social commerce online marketplace in India that enables independent resellers to build small businesses by connecting them with suppliers to curate a catalogue of goods and services to sell. The company also provides logistics and payment tools on the platform. These ‘social sellers’ then sell within their social networks on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

The company has built a network of more than 2 million ‘social sellers’ across 700 towns in India, as well as creating a disruptive distribution channel for 15,000 suppliers in traditional manufacturing hubs.

“Our social sellers are small retailers, women, students and retired citizens, with 70% being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes,” said Vidit Aatrey, Meesho Co-Founder and CEO.

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The new funds will enable the company to make inroads in areas outside India’s major metro regions, by creating more entrepreneurs, and as a result reaching remote customers not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces. The latest investment will also strengthen Meesho’s aim to grow its community of women entrepreneurs who have dreamt of running their own businesses but lacked the funds and expertise to do so, Aatrey said.

“We were attracted to Meesho because the team have built a uniquely Indian solution that utilizes the reach and scale the internet enables, and harnesses and makes it available for small sellers to better serve customers no matter where they live, for the benefit of all,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments, Naspers Ventures.

The phenomenal growth they are already experiencing shows that Meesho has hit a sweet spot in the market and is well-poised to serve the next 500 million online shoppers in the country, Sharma said.





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