Naspers Can’t Get Enough Of Indian E-Commerce, Invests $125M In Meesho

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Indian e-commerce
Naspers has invested in Meesho, a leading Indian social e-commerce platform that has built a network of more than 2 million social sellers. Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels

After making a winning investment in Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, Naspers has led a $125 million funding round in Indian online marketplace Meesho.  

In the last financial year, not including the Meesho investment, Naspers has invested almost $1.5 billion in three Indian tech companies.

Naspers initially invested around $600 million in Flipkart seven years ago, selling its 11.18 percent stake in India’s largest property in the e-commerce space to Walmart for $2.2 billion in 2019, according to ITWebAfrica.

Meesho is a leading social e-commerce platform where independent resellers can build small businesses by connecting with suppliers to curate a catalog of goods and services, according to a Naspers press release.

The company also provides logistics and payment tools. “Social sellers” sell within their social networks on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram using the online tools Meesho provides.

A social seller leverages social media networks like Facebook to run an online business by selling products to others who use the social media platform.

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Meesho was founded by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in December 2015.

Meesho claims to have built a network of more than 2 million social sellers across 700 towns in India, Moneyweb reports. The company aims to empower 20 million entrepreneurs on its platform by 2020, according to Naspers.

Meesho attracted the investment from Naspers with participation from Facebook and existing investors SAIF Partners, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS Ventures and Venture Highway, according to Fin24.

Former Vodafone Group CEO Sir Arun Sarin also participated in the round.

Naspers is Africa’s largest company by market cap with a $108 billion valuation. The Cape Town-based firm is a global internet and entertainment group that has built a reputation as one of the largest technology investors in the world.

Sequoia Capital is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. Facebook also operates from Silicon Valley. SAIF Partners is a Hong Kong-based venture and growth capital fund focused on Asian companies.

Shunwei Capital is a Chinese VC fund focused on early- to mid-stage internet investments. RPS Ventures is a late-stage VC firm that is a collaboration between Blue Pool Capital, SoftBank Group, and Jerry Yang. Venture Highway is an early-stage venture investments firm in New Dehli, India.

Meesho plans to expand its tech platform, launch new product categories and target areas not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces, TimesofIndia reports.

Betting on Indian e-commerce

Naspers is no stranger to Indian tech companies. In 2012, Naspers bet on an Indian e-commerce platform, Flipkart.

Flipkart has been Amazon’s most staunch competitor in the valuable Indian market. India’s e-commerce market was worth $39 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $120 billion by 2020, the India Brand Equity Foundation reports.

Amazon attempted to ruin Walmart’s plans with its own offer for the available stake before the deal was agreed in favor of Walmart.