Social commerce is the latest investor favourite as they target India’s next 400 million users

  • Mall91, Dealshare, CityMall, Bulbul, WMall along with the Facebook-backed Meesho, have raised funds in the past few months.
  • Each of these startup is targeting the next 200 million consumers from smaller cities.
  • It all started with social media giant Facebook investing an undisclosed amount in Meesho in June.
The Indian social commerce sector seems to be the latest ‘hot sector’ for investors. Many Indian startups – Mall91, Dealshare, CityMall, Bulbul, WMall along with the Facebook-backed Meesho, have raised funds in the last few months.

Each of these startup is targeting the next 400 million consumers from smaller cities by leveraging on the expanding reach of social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. With growing data penetration in India, social commerce is only set to grow.

"Social commerce is basically a direct correlation to data penetration in the country. Today, everybody in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities also has an availability of the internet. A long-time back shopping online was restricted to a certain population, today there is an exponential possibility due to the availability of the internet, everybody has access to it from every sector of the society,” said Roma Priya, Founder of Burgeon Law, a boutique law firm.

Priya added that given that social commerce has a more one-on-one, viral nature is a great way for a trust deficient demographic to buy again.

Funding galore

Today, Mall91 has raised $7.5 million through its Series A funding round led by Go-Ventures and participation by Beenext, Kalaari Capital, AngelList India.

With the latest funds, Mall91 aims to drive growth and plans to expand to other top 8 local languages of India. The company is also planning to grow its supply chain capabilities domestically and internationally.

It all started with social media giant Facebook investing an undisclosed amount in Meesho in June. Meesho is a marketplace for resellers, and connects them with customers via social media channels like WhatsApp and Facebook.

“With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India," Facebook India head Ajit Mohan had then said in an interview.

This was followed by Dealshare which raised $11 million from Matrix Partners, Falcon Edge Capital and others.

Meanwhile, barely one year old social e-commerce platform CityMall which operates in local languages-- raised an undisclosed amount from Jitendra Gupta of Citrus Pay, Alvin Tse of Xiaomi, Manish Vij and Harish Bahl from Smile Group, Rishab Malik ex-co-founder of Droom, Rajesh Sawhney of GSF and M&S Partners.

In May 2019. Bulbul, which is a live social commerce app, raised $5 million in a round that was led by Sequoia. It is also a part of Sequoia’s accelerator programme.

See also:
Facebook invests in Meesho showing that it will enter online e-commerce sooner than later
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