Meesho—a social commerce platform—on Monday said that it has raised $300 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the Bengaluru-based startup at $2.1 billion, catapulting it into India's unicorn club. The latest round also saw participation from existing investors including Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway, and Knollwood Investment.

Meesho, started in 2015, is an online reselling marketplace that enables small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell their products online. The startup claims that it has a customer base of 45 million across the country and has enabled over 13 million entrepreneurs to sell their products on its platform.

According to a report released by Bain and Company and Sequoia Capital India last year, social commerce (in terms of gross merchandise value) in India, which was pegged at around $2 billion in 2020 is projected to touch $20 billion in five years and about $70 billion by 2030.

The report further pointed out that millions of small retailers are finding innovative ways to sell directly to consumers through a variety of social formats, ranging from conversational commerce on chat platforms to video-led commerce, to a vibrant social reseller community.

“India’s e-commerce sector traditionally has been dominated by a few large players, but social commerce is paving the way for a more distributed model that’s built on community, connection and trust. While traditional e-commerce will continue to grow, social-led models will help redefine the landscape over the next five to 10 years,” the Bain report noted.

“We take pride at the rate of speed and the scale at which Meesho has grown, positively impacting millions of lives, and creating exponential learning along the way. In the last one year, we have seen tremendous growth across small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to move their businesses online. And with our new vision we will enable 100 million small businesses to start, succeed, and lead their operations online,” said Vidit Aatrey, founder and CEO, Meesho, in a statement.

The company said that it will utilise the fresh capital to strengthen its workforce across verticals including technology, product, and business, among others.

“Globally, SoftBank has always been excited to back founders that provide unique solutions for the local market. By using the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Meesho has created a platform for many small business owners to sell to the next cohort of Internet users,” said Munish Varma, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement.

“We have been closely tracking Meesho for the last 18 months and have been impressed by its growth, daily engagement metrics, focus on unit economics, and ability to create a strong team. We believe Meesho provides an efficient platform for SME suppliers and social resellers to onboard the e-commerce revolution in India and help them provide personalised experience to consumers,” added Sumer Juneja, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

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