Venture

Facebook’s First Indian Investment, 4-Year-Old Startup Meesho

Facebook, one of the social media giants battling regulation and privacy issues, has just made its first investment within India: Meesho, which helps people resell goods from home to make money.

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This could be part of Facebook’s broader push to get into e-commerce. As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, Facebook was in a series of talks with financial firms and online merchants to help support its blockchain-based payments network.

On Meesho’s website, it says users can earn high profit margins and weekly bonuses through mini-marketplaces held on platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp. That money can then be transferred to their bank accounts. Meesho says it handles delivery of goods, and claims it can transfer profit margins to resellers within 10 days (for how the payment method works, including how users can set their own profit margin, see this video).

The investment will help further it’s “efforts to enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels,” it said in a blog post.

According to its Crunchbase profile, the Bangalore-based startup raised $65.2 million prior to this investment. Meesho was valued at $250 million in November, reports Times of India. Sources told the Times of India that the investment could be anywhere between $25 million to $100 million.

As Facebook faces its own ethical and operational issues, this push to an e-commerce platform could be seen as an attempt to change the narrative. Or at the very least, serve as a distraction.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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