Google has held discussions to invest over $50 million in Indian social commerce startup Meesho, which recently secured $570 million in a financing round, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The Android-maker, which has backed over half a dozen startups in India, has yet to make the investment in Meesho, according to another person familiar with the matter.
Meesho — which counts Facebook, B Capital, SoftBank, Sequoia Capital India, Y Combinator and Elevation Capital among its earliest investors — operates a three-sided marketplace that connects suppliers (manufacturers and distributors) and resellers with customers on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. The resellers buy listed products from the suppliers and make commission on each transaction when they sell to customers.
About 80% of resellers on the platform are women. From the beginning, the startup has aimed to help women start their business without need for any capital. The startup, which like many other e-commerce firms was severely hit by the pandemic last year, has fully recovered and achieved an all-time peak growth in recent months.
Meesho’s recent fast-growth has been a topic of several serious discussions at Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce firm, according to two people who work at the firm’s recently launched social commerce effort.
As of April this year, 13 million entrepreneurs and more than 100,000 suppliers were using Meesho, the startup’s founder Vidit Aatrey told TechCrunch in an interview last month, adding that the startup had since “grown 3x.”
At stake is the world’s second-largest internet market, where e-commerce has hardly made any dent to the overall retail. Just the social commerce market is expected to be worth up to $20 billion in value by 2025, up from about $1 billion to $1.5 billion last year, analysts at Bernstein said last month.
“Social commerce has the ability to empower more than 40 million small entrepreneurs across India. Today, 85% of sellers using social commerce are small, offline-oriented retailers who use social channels to open up new growth opportunities,” they wrote.
Google, which has committed to invest $10 billion in 1India in the next couple of years, has also backed Indian startups Glance and DailyHunt. YouTube acquired social commerce startup SimSim in July this year. Earlier this month, the firm backed Bangalore-based neobanking startup Open.