MEESHO – Startup – Investment by FACEBOOK

MEESHO – Startup – Investment by FACEBOOK

Meesho – an online marketplace for resellers in Bengaluru and California has got investment from Social networking giant FACEBOOK Inc, five years after first acquiring an Indian startup.

Facebook had bought Bengaluru-based Little Eye Labs in 2014. Its US peers Google and Twitter Inc. have also either invested in an Indian company or bought one.

Twitter had, in 2015, acquired mobile-based customer engagement platform ZipDial while Google made its first direct investment in an Indian company in December 2017 when it backed daily tasks management app Dunzo.

Meesho – Bengaluru based startup :

Meesho, a Bengaluru-based social commerce platform that helps resellers and emerging brands build businesses using social media, has bagged funding of undisclosed amount from social network giant Facebook.

The Online reseller Meesho has an app available in more than seven local languages other than English, with 40 percent of its daily usage from non-English speaking users.

Meesho’s tools include an online platform that allows sellers to manage purchases and process payments, as well as a network of wholesale suppliers (its main categories are currently fashion and lifestyle items) and logistics providers.

In other words, it offers almost everything its vendors need to start selling online. This leaves vendors responsible for customer acquisition, picking what items they want to include in their online shops and marketing them.

History of Meesho :

Meesho – short for “meri shop” – was preceded by FashNear, a hyperlocal fashion discovery and commerce app founded in mid 2015. By end 2015, the founders pivoted to Meesho – Shopify for mobile for India – an app that enabled small stores to create online shops and sell through Facebok, WhatsApp, Instagram and other social channels by streamlining product discovery and payments.

It later moved in to organize and aggregate the Indian long tail supply chain and extended logistical support to its reseller customer base.

Meesho Fact sheet :

Year of Launch : 2015

Head Quarters : Bengaluru

Category : E-Commerce

Founders : Vidit Aatrey, Sanjeev Barnwal

Total Funding till date : $ 65.2 mn

Key Investors : Facebook, Sequoia India, Shunwei Capital, DST Partners

In November last year, Meesho raised $50 million in a Series C round of funding from China’s Shunwei Capital, Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Partners and RPS Ventures, a fund set up by former SoftBank managing director Kabir Misra. Existing investors  are Sequoia Capital India, SAIF Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator.

Investment from Facebook in Meesho :

This is Facebook’s first investment in an India-based startup and is a strong demonstration of the company’s commitment to the country’s vibrant internet ecosystem. 

Facebook’s investment will help Meesho enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels.

The deal size, according to an Economic Timesreport may be about $20-25 million.

Meesho, run by Fashnear Techologies Pvt. Ltd, is based out of Bengaluru. It also has an entity incorporated in California, US, called Meesho Inc.

Founders of Meesho :

Founders of Meesho

Founded by IIT Delhi alumni Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015, Meesho has created an alternate distribution channel by empowering housewives, young mothers, aspiring entrepreneurs, students, and teachers, to launch, build and promote their online businesses using WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media channels.

Vidit Aatrey, cofounder and CEO, Meesho wrote that the investment will help it further its efforts to enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels.

How Meesho Fits With Facebook’s Plans?

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Facebook India MD Ajit Mohan said that Meesho stood out from its peers in certain aspects.

Firstly, the two founders had the right framework in terms of business building. “They were bringing a lot of passion and problem-solving and testing and learning approaches that we as a company like,” he said.

Why Is Social E-commerce Creating waves?

With more than 500 Mn Indians relying on the Internet for their day-to-day life, shopping online has become an inherent choice. Interestingly, according to Statista over 2.14 Bn people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online by 2021.

The social ecommerce startups leverage the user bases of social media platforms such as WhatsApp or traditional media platforms to build ecommerce solutions for its customers which are more friendly and personalized. Even though they were expected to have lower acquisition costs, the results have been lukewarm.

Awards and Recognition :

In August 2016, VC-focused data platform Mattermark ranked Meesho 8 among 25 fastest-growing Y Combinator incubated startups.

In July 2017, Deccan Chronicle named Meesho among Top 5 apps for Social Commerce.

In Feb 2018, Forbes India featured Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in its 30 Under 30 list of young achievers.  The startup was also one of the growing Indian businesses to be profiled b Forbes Asia in the same year.

In April 2018, Meesho was selected as a part of the first batch of Google Launchpad’s ‘Solve For India’ program for startups building technology solutions for unique Indian challenges.

Conclusion :

According to information on its website, Meesho has over 15,000 suppliers and more than two million resellers throughout the country on its platform.

Meesho facilitates a three-way marketplace enabling resellers, SMBs, and micro-entrepreneurs across India to connect with potential buyers using social media. The company claims to have more than 15K suppliers and 2 Mn resellers across India.

With a culmination of efforts coming from Facebook towards Meesho’s growth, the social ecommerce industry is bound to get more exciting soon.

Its app which is available in more than seven local languages other than English, and about 40 percent of its daily usage comes from a non-English speaking audience. 

Election Commission – Social media – LS Elections 2019

Election Commission – Social media – LS Elections 2019

Election Commission of India has issued social media guidelines and model code of conduct to the Parties contesting Lok Sabha elections 2019.

With the General elections 2019 dates declared, the elections will start from April 11 and counting will be held on 23rd May.

The elections dates for the State of Karnataka is April 18th and April 23rd 2019.

Election Commission of India :

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Council in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.

Originally in 1950, the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. Two additional Commissioners were appointed to the commission for the first time on 16 October 1989.

The commission is served by its secretariat located in New Delhi. The Election Commissioners are assisted by Deputy Election Commissioners, who are generally IAS Officers.. They are further assisted by Directors General, Principal Secretaries, and Secretaries and Under Secretaries. 

Karnataka Elections – Election Commission :

The Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka will be in 2 phases, with 14 constituencies going to the polls in each phase.  The elections dates for the State of Karnataka is April 18th and April 23rd 2019.

For those in Bengaluru, the polling date is 18th April 2019 that is 2nd phase.  There are 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka which will go to polls on April 18 under separate phases.

for the 14 constituencies in Karnataka that go to the polls on April 18, the last date for filing nominations is on March 26. The last date for scrutiny of nomination is March 27 and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is March 29.

HIGHLIGHTS :

  • All social media ads from political parties will have to be pre-certified
  • Candidates will have to submit details of their social media accounts
  • Social media expert to be part of Media Certification and Monitoring Committee

Social media – Election Commission :

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced strict guidelines for use of social media by political parties and candidates.

 The Election commission has outlined strict guidelines for use of social media during elections.  The political parties and candidates will not be able to post unverified advertisements, photos personnel from defence, hate speeches.  The candidates will not be posting any fake news on their accounts.

 According to the Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, the new guidelines requires the candidates to furnish details of their social media accounts during the filing of nomination papers.  They have to disclose the activities on their Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Share Chat  and Google.

The Election Commission  has  decided to bring als  the bulk SMSes and Voice messages on phone under the purview of pre-certification of election advertisements.  

All these social media accounts of the candidates will be under the close scrutiny of Election commission.

Model Code of Conduct – Election Commission  :

Model code of conduct also applies to the text  being posted on social media by party candidates and political parties. Any violation with regard to model code of conduct will lead to action by the Election Commission.

According to Sunil Arora “the media certification and monitoring committees (MCMCs) are in place at the district and State levels. One social media expert will also be part of this committee at each level. All political advertisements, proposed to be issued on the social media, shall require pre-certification from the MCMC concerned”.

Facebook and Google also have deputed a dedicated grievance officer to receive complaints of any violation of EC guidelines.

The Moral Code of Conduct includes a list of guidelines used for regulating political parties and their activities just ahead of general elections 2019. The rules not only apply to political speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, rallies, general conduct but also to the contents of election manifestos.

Social platforms :

The social platforms will also assign fact checkers to scan fake news and abuses on the social media. As per the guidelines, no political party or candidate will  display photographs of defence personnel on social media for the campaigning purpose.

The social media posts should not contain any content that  violates  the electoral process or disturb peace, calm, social harmony and public order.

Candidates and political parties are mandatorily required to disclose their campaigning expenditure, including the money spent on social media advertising, in their poll expenditure account.

This also includes payments made to internet companies and websites for carrying advertisements.  This also includes campaign-related operational expenditure on making creative development of content, salaries and wages paid to the team employed to operate and maintain the social media accounts.

State-level monitoring committee – Election Commission ;

The district and state-level media certification and monitoring committees will be present to monitor the activities. All electronic and radio advertisements will be screened during the elections  The States  will now also have a social media expert on board to ensure that such campaign materials do not slip in without scrutiny. 

The election expenditure ceiling is  Rs 70 lakh for candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections 2019 , except in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim  the ceiling is fixed at Rs 54 lakh. 


EVMs to carry candidate pictures – Election Commission :

In Lok Sabha 2019 elections the  EVMs will be carrying  the  candidate pictures  to avoid confusion over similar names.

The photograph will be printed on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) ballot units as well as on postal ballot papers according to the Election commission.

According to the Election Commissioner, ‘the provision for printing the candidate photographs will help avoid any confusion which may arise when candidates with similar names contest from the same constituency’.

The party candidates are required to submit to the returning officer, their recent stamp size photograph as per the specifications laid down by the Election Commission.

This has happened before. India had gone to polls with photo electoral rolls for the first time in 2009. In that year, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland did not have photo electoral rolls, while elector photo identity cards were not distributed to electors in Assam and Nagaland. 

The Election Commission said that official voter slip bearing the photo of the elector (wherever present in the roll) will be distributed at least five days before the polling date.

To advertise criminal records :

This Lok Sabha polls, candidates will have to advertise their criminal records.  According to the Election Commission directions, political parties too will have to give publicity to the criminal records of candidates fielded by them.

The Election Commission has made it mandatory for party candidates contesting polls to advertise their criminal records in TV and newspapers at least three times during electioneering.   This  rule will be implemented for the first time in Lok Sabha  2019 election, scheduled to be held from April 11 to May 19. 

Parties which fail to comply will face the prospects of getting their recognition withdrawn or suspended.  Candidates have to submit clippings of their declaration published in papers and parties have to submit details about the number of such candidates in a State.

 

 

Voter registration reminder – Facebook

Voter registration reminder – Facebook will be sending the voter registration reminder.   It reminds Indian users ‘Its time for voter registration” and will send to users in India who are eligible to vote.

Facebook to send Voter registration reminder to voters

Registration reminder – different languages :

The voter registration reminder will be in 13 Indian languages – English, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Assamese, Marathi and Oriya.

Vote – for a better tomorrow

Voter Registration reminder – procedure :

The ‘Register Now’ button is designed to encourage the citizens of India to register themselves with the Election Commission of India (ECI).   Facebook has over 200 million users in India.

Election commission with Facebook

By clicking on the ‘Register Now’ button, people will be directed to the National Voters’ Services Portal which will guide them through the registration process.

National Voter’s day – Voter registration reminder :

On the National Voters’ Day, Facebook  will send a voter registration reminder to users in India who are eligible to vote. During the first half of 2019, the Lok Sabha elections will be held throughout the country.

The Election Commission (EC) will observe National Voters’ Day across the country on 25th January and will have six lakh locations that cover over 10-lakh polling stations.

Facebook had tied up with the Election Commission in a special drive in 2017 to launch the voter registration.

Importance of voter registration reminder :

In India about two crore youngsters turn 18 every year.  In the 2019 elections,  there could be, apparently, 10 crore first-time voters.  Not every eligible voter gets registered to the Election Commission.

The program will help many first timers to register and cast their vote during the upcoming general assembly elections.

People use Facebook to connect, share and to get involved with concerns that matters to them.   Facebook wants to build products that support this type of civic engagement. 

Voter registration reminder – conclusion :

This drive is a step towards fulfillment of ECI’s motto ‘NO VOTER TO BE LEFT BEHIND’.  The initiative is to strengthen the enrollment campaign.  This is to encourage future voters to participate in the electoral process and become responsible citizens of India.

Social Media platform – General Elections 2019

Social media platform is going to play a major role in the country’s general election 2019.  This alone is to corner Rs.12000 crore in political ad spends.

Different social platforms available

Role of Social Media :

The most common platforms of mass social media includes news paper, radio, television, magazines, internet, facebook, twitter etc.

India has become a digital society where social media has set itself in the lives of people.  The country ranks on the top of the list in the countries with the highest number of Facebook users.

different platforms icons

Election campaigning is slowly shifting towards the digital arena.  The ruling BJP has been the leader of using social media as well as mass media to its advantage in the 2014 general election.

Major Windfall – Social media :

Social media platforms are setting for a major windfall in this years general elections.  According to media experts, the advertising spends on social media will see a major of 150%. 

Top social media networking sites

The media major facebook is going to take a major share. According to experts Facebook alone is going to get Rs.10000 crore ad money while the rest of social media gets Rs.2000 crore.

Political parties using social media :

The size of digital user base has increased rapidly compared to 2014 general elections.  The consumption of digital content has increased in recent years.

Political parties to use social media platforms

All political parties have social media strategy teams.  Elections are the major factor that will lead to an increase in advertisement spends in social media.

Google’s transparency :

Google is  introducing  an India specific Political Advertising Transparency Report.  A searchable Political Ads Library  will provide information about who is purchasing election ads on Google platforms.  How much money is being spent?  The report and the library will go live in March 2019. 

Google said it is also updating its election ads policy for India and the policy requires that advertisers running election ads in India provide a pre-certificate issued by the Election Commissioner.  

Conclusion :

Politics and media share a complex co-ordinated relationship. Media, politics and elections are interlinked together.  Social media platforms have become essential ground for the discussion of political narratives.