Meesho is an Indian social commerce platform that allows users to resell products using their social networks. It was established in 2015 by the IIT Delhi Graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal.
By the End of this article, you’ll know:
- About Meesho
- How Meesho Started?
- Success Story of Meesho
- How the IIT Delhi Graduates built the Unicorn Startup MEESHO
- About the Founders of Company
Meesho is an India-based social commerce platform that was founded by two IIT Delhi graduates (Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal) in December 2015. The platform enables small businesses and individuals to start their online stores via social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc
Vidit Aatrey (Founder CEO) said “Meesho” stands for “Meri Shop” or apni dukaan. Meesho helps individuals to start their own online selling business with Zero Investment because most individuals want to start their own business but they do not have access to capital. It helped many individuals turned self-employed people to grab the opportunity and do something by own.
Meesho app is available on Android and IOS mobile both. Any Individual can register their account with Meesho. After that primarily he/she will able to generate the links of the Products available on Meesho App. Then he/she share the links to social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. When any customer buys the product, Meesho supervises the logistics, Online payments and provides real-time updates.
Meesho has delivered orders from 100K+ registered suppliers till date to over 26,000 pin codes in more than 4,800 cities. Generates over Rs 500 crore in income for entrepreneurs and serving customers in more than 4,500 Tier 2+ cities — bringing e-commerce to India.
Meesho claims to have more than 13 Million Entrepreneurs connected with them through their platform. It seems impressive that the majority of the entrepreneurs are women. The Social Commerce Platform helps their resellers to start their own online businesses with zero investment.
How Meesho Started
Meesho started his journey in Dec 2015 by the two IIT Delhi Graduates. They started Meesho which is a social commerce platform that allows the users to resell the products using their social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, or others. Their motto to start this startup is Empower the Women. They aimed to celebrate the financial Independence of Indian Women.
It was in 2015, Vidit Aatrey (Founder & CEO) of Meesho decided to quit their Job from InMobi and start his own venture. Then he started Meesho with his partner Sanjeev Barnwal (Founder & CTO) of Meesho. They both were the batchmates (2008-12) and came up with the idea to build a platform to help MSMEs (Micro. Small and Medium Enterprises). So, as social commerce was struggling to occupy the space in India, Meesho led the way and revolutionized the Industry.
“Social commerce already got popular that time but there are lots of challenges such as limited access to supply, lack of logistics/ payment options, customer-friendly policies, etc,” shared Vidit.
When founders of Meesho left their comfortable jobs to start something by own. They initially started the startup with the name FASHNEAR. They were looking at building a platform for fashion; a fashion equivalent to what Swiggy did with food, Onelab did with their services and Grofers did with groceries. Their plan was to sign up for various stores from different localities on our app. Potential customers could choose three items from these shops and a delivery person would take them to their house. They could pick the ones they want, pay for it, and return the rest.
In one of the Interviews Vidit Aatrey said, “Sanjeev and I fulfilled every role during this period. We did the inventory of every shop, spending entire days taking photos of all the products and cataloging them on our app. I also worked as the delivery person in the beginning, because I wanted to hear my customer’s feedback first hand.“
How Fashnear became Meesho
They realized that the “Fashnear” business model was not working because people were less interested in their products being local and more about sales. Where an online s tore sells its products 24/7, 365 days, the offline stores they were tying up with could only offer end-of-the-season sales. However, the plus side to being knowing the market from the depth and also learn the ability to interact with shop owners.
When they met with a local shop owner in Koramangala, was especially enlightening the new concept because he told us that he was already selling his products online through the social media platforms Facebook and WhatsApp groups where he uploaded photos regularly. These customers would place an order and one of his employees would make the delivery and collect the cash. They were very inspired by this simple and yet powerful idea, inspired by his business model.
Then they worked on a prototype, and got around to building software that would take this business model to the next level.
THUS JOURNWY OF MEESHO STARTED
When Fashnear turned into Meesho. They got a good response but they still did not have a revenue model. They created a platform where any shopkeeper could use their Facebook log-in details to log on to Meesho as well, after which all their information would be migrated and a web page for their business would be created with few simple clicks. Unlike the WhatsApp model that some shopkeepers were employing, Meesho helped with auto stocking and managing inventory as well. Then they register 10000+ shops in less than 6 months.
They noticed that most of the shops on our app were run by women, who were selling products out of their homes, and they called themselves resellers. One more interesting insight they noticed that where a shopkeeper adds new products to the Meesho app every three months or so, resellers would change up their catalogue every day
Founders were interacted with the resellers directly at their homes and realized that they did not have any inventory. Instead, they were only posting products that other suppliers were selling and buying as per demand. One of the first resellers they (Vidit and Sanjeev) spoke to, Anu (from Bangalore), was in fact, running a reseller group that called itself Anu’s Boutique. She realized early on that buying an inventory and investing in a physical shop was high risk, and decided to run an online boutique instead.
She would visit surat every month with her husband and come back with the business cards of multiple suppliers in the market and she would add them all on Whatsapp. They would send her photographs of their products, she would post them on the Meesho app, and sell via Whatsapp. Another reseller, whose family worked in the textile industry also used “Meesho” app in a similar fashion.
Meesho saw a unique business opportunity here. Not every reseller would have the access that these two have and moreover, no two small businesses functioning from different parts of the country could trust each other enough to offer cash on delivery (CoD) options or have a return policy for the end customer. This is where they came in. Meesho became the platform that became the bridge between supplier and reseller.
Meesho’s Success Story
Meesho is the latest Company to join the Unicorn Club. In just 5 years they touched the milestone of $1 Billion Valuation. They currently raised funds from Softbank Vision Fund 2 of $300 Million.
According to Vidit Aatrey, the social reselling market in India is estimated to be $6-7 billion in size as of 2020. By 2025, the social commerce is expected to be ~$70B and total eCommerce to be $200 Bn as the number of online shoppers, especially from tier II cities and beyond, continues to rise. After the pandemic, Meesho has also seen an increased adoption rate in Bharat.
He also said “Overall, more than 70% of our orders come from tier II+ towns. We have seen very good adoption in tier II+ towns during the pandemic: we have served 2000+ new tier II+ towns since June and our order share from these towns has also increased from 67% earlier to 72% between July and December 2020,”
Now Meesho is at the next level but there is a lot of struggle behind the success of MEESHO as we see in the section “How Meesho Started”. They continued working on their idea, change the business model wherever required and grab the opportunities they got.
In the last five years, Meesho has grown many times over, won several accolades, expanded to Indonesia, and has proved that it can survive and thrive even during a global pandemic. Their journey has been all about pivoting at the right time and finding the perfect way to stitch business opportunities and special service together.