Bangalore-based social commerce startup Meesho has raised $125 million to expand its eCommerce business in India, TechCrunch reported on Monday (Aug. 12).
Naspers led the Series D funding round and was joined by existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway. Facebook and Arun Sarin, the former CEO of Vodafone, also invested.
A digital marketplace connecting buyers and sellers, Meesho has raised $190 million to date since its launch in 2015. The platform connects customers over social media apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
Some 80 percent of buyers and sellers using Meesho are women. Of the company’s 2 million users across 700 towns, resellers are primarily female homemakers with smartphones, the report said. The startup hopes to expand its reach and add as many as 18 million new sellers by the close of 2020.
“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,” the company said.
Most businesses in India are not digital, and brick-and-mortar shops are not organized. Meesho hopes to attract these businesses and get them to sell online, Vidit Aatrey, Meesho co-founder and CEO, told the news outlet in an interview.
“I am particularly proud that Meesho has cut across gender, education levels, risk appetites and vocations to create livelihoods for people with no investment of their own. Our social sellers are small retailers, women, students and retired citizens, with 70 percent being homemakers who have found financial freedom and a business identity without having to step outside their homes,” Aatrey said.
The head of Facebook’s Indian business, Ajit Mohan, said the investment in Meesho is a move to extend the tech company’s reach “in one of the world’s biggest internet markets.”
“It reflects the new India that is showing up on the internet,” Ajit Mohan added.