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. 

Innovation Authority – Karnataka State Startup

Innovation Authority being set up in Karnataka.

Innovation Authority being set up in Karnataka.

The State will soon set up an innovation authority to empower the startups for the ‘ease of doing business’.   This initiative is to protect the IP of Companies.

To give a fillip to protect the intellectual property of co’s, the State government is setting up an Innovation Authority.  Bengaluru city which is the forefront of IT, is taking the next step to increase the IT/BT sector growth.

Karnataka Innovation Authority

Bengaluru is ranked 20th among the world’s innovation cities.

Innovation authority will be an independent and impartial public entity that operates for the innovation ecosystem in the state.

The Karnataka Innovation Authority (KIA) will be set up through a law to overcome the legal problems the startups face.  This setup will be headed by the Chief minister.  The startups face problems in innovating technologies and ideas

One of the reasons the government has taken this initiative is to do with legal hurdles in commercializing new ideas.  The small businesses and start-ups often struggle with IP being stolen or submission by big companies.

This problem was brought to the notice of the government by the IT/BT sector.  The Innovation authority – Karnataka will have over-riding powers to overcome the legal hurdles.

The state government will put in place a legal framework to protect the IO, a first in the country.  This will be based on block-chain technology, where the ideals are protected for commercialization.

Israel is the only country in the world to form the  Israel Innovation Authority, formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy to foster innovation in the country.

 

Karnataka to fund 50 startups this year

Karnataka to fund 50 startups this year

The Government of Karnataka will fund start-ups, selected at Elevate 2018, where over 250 startups presented their final pitches to a panel of experts for funding.

The program is run under the Startup Karnataka initiative of the Ministry of IT-BT and S&T. In its second year, the program received over 600 applications from across the State, from a variety of tech startups.

Two hundred and fifty startups were shortlisted for the finals, of which 50 will be picked for government grants and funding.

Last year 1,700 startups applied, and the government funded 100 companies. The Karnataka Government has provided Rs 42 crore to 177 startups so far, and has already disbursed Rs 30 crore.

The average score to qualify for a mini-grant of Rs 5 lakh was 60. Only those startups that score more than 90 percent, on an average, will receive a grant of Rs 50 lakh. The pitching session was for six minutes and the Q&A lasted six minutes. Questions similar to general funding required, the R&D and folks value, advertising prices, working capital for the subsequent 12 months had been among the questions posed by jury members to startups.

The hub featured a unique gathering of energy focused startups, Venture Capitalists, Energy Experts and Academia, among others.

The Karnataka Government puts in a maximum of Rs 50 lakh per startup for those it believes will make the maximum impact on technology and society.