Google is in talks to invest in Meesho, an e-commerce startup

Business Startup Technology

According to numerous sources with knowledge of the matter, the search giant is in talks to invest $50-75 million in Meesho’s social commerce platform. This shows emphasis of Google on supporting emerging Indian businesses like Dunzo and InMobi’s Glance. As part of Meesho’s current financing round, the investment is valued at $4.9 billion, valuing the Bengaluru-based company.

Meesho raised $570 million in September from US asset manager Fidelity and Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, situated in the United States of America. With Google’s contribution, the round will now be worth over $600 million.

As of Thursday afternoon, neither Google nor Meesho had responded to inquiries.

Meesho has raised over $900 million in funding so far this year, including $300 million from SoftBank Vision Fund II in April, thanks to Google’s latest investment.

Google has made several investments in India, including its $10 billion India Digitization Fund launched in July of last year. Simsim, a video social commerce firm, was acquired by YouTube, the video-sharing network, in July.

Meesho is anticipated to use the new funds to become a consumer-facing e-commerce company that can effectively compete with leading competitors such as Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart in the Indian market.

As a social commerce reseller platform, Meesho was founded in 2015 by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal and began its journey as a low-end, unbranded, and long-tail eCommerce product reseller platform.

Meesho’s aspirations to compete in the big league were evident after SoftBank’s funding infusion, and the company has since aggressively spent on advertising and directly reached out to customers.

Meesho was spending $20-$25 million each month on user acquisition.

It competes in the grocery area with other well-funded businesses, including DealShare, backed by New York-based investment company Tiger Global, and Sea Ltd’s Shopee e-commerce platform, which recently entered the Indian market. DealShare is headquartered in Singapore. There is a limited assortment of consumables and food basics available on Shopee, which sells unbranded apparel and home goods.

Meesho switched to a 0 percent commission arrangement earlier this year to increase the number of merchants on its network. Meesho onboarded over 100,000 retailers ahead of the holiday season with free ad credits and no return shipping charges, among other things. At the time of writing, it has 250,000 users.

Google has more than doubled startup investments in the previous two years, with an emphasis on content and commerce.

Investments in Jio Platforms have totaled $4.5 billion. It has also invested $145 million in InMobi Glance, which operates a short-video platform called Roposo and holds a $4.5 billion investment in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms.

In addition, VerSe Innovation, the parent firm of the Indian content and news aggregator Dailyhunt, has received funding from the IT giant. DotPe’s Series A fundraising round, where it raised $27.5 million recently, including the company.