Elevation
Elevation
Stories

Meesho - a masterclass
in new category creation

Multiple Meesho entrepreneurs
Beginnings
Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal
2015

The Beginning

Our story with Meesho started with an 18-month long courtship. We first met Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal as founders of Fashnear, a hyperlocal fashion platform. They soon discovered that for their customers, variety and choice were much more important than speed of delivery, so going hyperlocal wasn’t the right approach. Within a few months, they pivoted into a mobile-first Shopify-like product to enable shop owners to sell on WhatsApp and Facebook. The product gained good early traction and the team was accepted into Y Combinator.

December 2015
Meesho entrepreneur using the app

“In 6-9 months, we realized more than half our users were not from a segment we had intended to go after. They were housewives running boutiques on WhatsApp with their own logo. There were women in Gujarat who would get phone numbers of apparel suppliers, curate their products and sell these ahead on WhatsApp. This was so inspiring - if everyone in India could start a shop like this, it would be super powerful."

Vidit Aatrey, co-founder & CEO, Meesho
Team Meesho, May 2016Team Meesho, May 2016

Seeing promise in this approach, Vidit and Sanjeev created two teams internally - Meesho, to focus on the current product, and Meesho Supply, a managed marketplace specifically for this emerging segment, which would enable micro-entrepreneurs in getting access to supply from across the country.

Meesho Supply was soon doubling in scale every month. The founders took an objective look at the business and realized they couldn’t run both in parallel. They needed to go full throttle in one direction. They decided to double down on the marketplace and Meesho Supply became simply, Meesho.

June 2017
Meesho's monthly tractionVidit's monthly update on Meesho's traction

Despite being in regular contact with Vidit and the team – and never failing to be impressed by their resilience – we had been unable to cross the line on their earlier business models. However, the managed marketplace pivot was the turning point. Meesho’s monthly figures made it clear that PMF was staring us in the face.

We spoke to a lot of micro-entrepreneurs, and realized that WhatsApp selling was growing rapidly. Meesho was making all this easier, more efficient, and more democratic.

Mukul Arora, the deal Partner, was in Bangalore only for a day for a board meeting, but was very keen on meeting Vidit. Call it serendipity, but Vidit cancelled another investor’s meeting to see him.

After our meeting, it was clear that Meesho’s model was a really powerful way to take e-commerce to a broader Indian audience. We knew we had to get on board, and couldn’t wait to partner with Vidit and Sanjeev, as they took Meesho to the next level.

“Ecommerce 1.0 was built on web browsers, ecommerce 2.0 was built on mobile apps, and ecommerce 3.0 will be built on social networks/platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube and Sharechat."

"These are gateways to ecommerce for new to internet users, especially for impulse, unstructured categories. Meesho further adds a layer of trust to this purchase by leveraging known micro-entrepreneurs, for whom Meesho is equally a source of supplemental income as well as a means to get more social equity.”

Mukul Arora, Partner, Elevation Capital
Meesho’s model as explained in their early pitch deckMeesho’s model as explained in their early pitch deck

A Unique USP

Meesho’s strength lay in its unique USP. No one else was doing it. Here was a solution to India’s fragmented and inefficient retail market: putting selling power in the hands of everyday users. Anyone could become an entrepreneur.

A woman using the Meesho app

Elevation invested $2.4M in August 2017

At the time we signed a term sheet with Meesho in July 2017 they had:

2300entrepreneurs

registered on Meesho

350daily orders

on average

100percent

MoM growth

November 2017

10,000 Meesho entrepreneurs

empowered by the platform

June 2018
Sequoia Logo
Elevation logo
YCombinator Logo
Venture Highway Logo

$11.5M Raised

$11.5M raised from Sequoia, Elevation, Y Combinator, Venture Highway

August 2018

100,000 Meesho entrepreneurs

November 2018
Elevation logo
Shunwei Logo
RPS Logo

$50M Raised

$50M raised from Shunwei, RPS Ventures, Apoletto, Elevation, Sequoia, Y Combinator, Venture Highway

May 2019

1,000,000 Meesho entrepreneurs

June 2019
Facebook logo
Naspers logo
Elevation logo

Facebook's First India Investment

$125M raised from Facebook, Naspers, Elevation, Sequoia, Venture Highway, RPS Ventures

September 2020

5,000,000 Meesho entrepreneurs

Today

Meesho Today

Today, Meesho is India’s largest social commerce platform. But more importantly, it has helped millions of women across India develop a new professional identity and a source of independence:

5mentrepreneurs

empowered by Meesho

80percent

women entrepreneurs

A Special Partner

“Elevation has been a very special partner to us at Meesho and to me personally. They were our first investors and came in when no one else believed in us – people thought what we were doing didn’t make sense. We were two very young entrepreneurs who had no idea how to build a company, how to hire people. Mukul has been a mentor, advisor and sometimes a co-founder – apart from being an investor in the company.”

Vidit Aatrey, co-founder & CEO, Meesho

Meesho entrepreneur Sunehri Khurana

“People knew me by my husband’s name..

..as my children’s mother, but who was I? Was I just a wife, a mother, was there no identity I had of my own? With Meesho, I felt I could take the flight of my dreams and carve an identity for myself. As my store grew, I started being recognized for who I am. Today, everyone knows me as Sunehri - all thanks to Meesho.”

Sunehri Khurana, Meesho Entrepreneur
Meesho WeHearYou

Meesho’s culture of customer obsession continues to drive decisions. Vidit has made it mandatory that everyone regularly speaks to their community of entrepreneurs. It means their needs are kept front of mind during all business decisions.

“While we were doing townhalls for our employees, we realized our users are equally a part of the company and we started a monthly video series - “WeHearYou.” Think of this as a townhall for our users - where we talk about what we have been working on, what has worked and not, and what we are planning to build. The response has been amazing - users feel part of the company and give us extensive no holds barred feedback and insights.”

Vidit Aatrey, co-founder & CEO, Meesho
Beyond
As for empowering a new generation of businesswomen, Meesho is just getting started. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“It gives me great joy when a founder from Brazil or South East Asia says, “We are the Meesho of this country.” It makes one realise how truly category-defining and revolutionary this company is.”

Mukul Arora, Partner, Elevation Capital
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