Facebook has announced that it has invested in Meesho, a Bengaluru-based social commerce platform that helps resellers and emerging brands build businesses using social media. It is the company's second investment in India.
Founded by IIT-Delhi alumni Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho has created an alternative distribution channel by empowering aspiring entrepreneurs -- especially housewives, young mothers, students, and teachers -- to launch, build and promote their online businesses using WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media channels.
The app facilitates an innovative three-way marketplace enabling resellers, small and medium businesses (SMBs), and micro-entrepreneurs across India to connect with potential buyers. Ajit Mohan, vice-president and managing director, Facebook India, who made the announcement over a video conference call, said, “Facebook is an ally for India’s economic growth and social development. We are excited about India and its rapidly rising internet ecosystem. With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India.”
However, the company has not disclosed the deal size. The development also comes at a time when Facebook has been testing payments for both Messenger and WhatsApp in India, which could help it diversify revenue stream. According to Mohan, two reasons persuaded Facebook to invest in Meesho. Firstly, its model is growing outside of the metros with a focus on tier II and III cities, where new internet users are based. Secondly and more importantly, it has two million resellers, more than 80 per cent of whom are women. Most of them are starting a business for the first time, thus boosting female entrepreneurship.