Rise of social commerce startups in India: Meesho, Bulbul, and others main the best way


The expansion of social commerce startups in India was virtually inevitable. 

Given the nation’s huge social media consumer base and its huge urge for food for ecommerce, one thing that blends the 2 was all the time going to be a hit. However, not till final 12 months was the thrill round social commerce so loud and all-encompassing.

Because the title suggests, social commerce is when social media permits commerce: entrepreneurs and companies leverage social media platforms for curating, selling, and promoting their merchandise to shoppers.  

In 2019, it was the fastest-growing phase of India’s on-line retail business and witnessed snowballing investor curiosity. 


Homegrown social commerce startups on-boarded over 10 million resellers, and raised $100 million in funding up to now 12 months, in keeping with business estimates.

High VCs similar to Accel Companions, SAIF Companions, Omidyar Community, Naspers, Sequoia Capital, Kalaari Capital, CDH China, Korea Funding Companions, Go-Ventures, and even Fb led fairness offers within the sector in 2019. 

A mix of elements has led to the meteoric rise of social commerce in India: 

a) Growing smartphone penetration and declining cellular web prices have opened up a market of 400 million customers in India’s Tier II and III cities and past

b)  Proliferation and development in cost gateways and e-wallets led by UPI

c) Unhindered development in social media utilization and the rise of short-form video platforms similar to TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, particularly amongst millennials

d) Availability of vernacular networks like ShareChat, Roposo, and others

A latest PayPal survey revealed that India is already the main Asian market for social commerce. It’s projected to change into a $100 billion vertical of ecommerce by 2025. 

YourStory lists a number of the high startups within the sector. 


It is probably not an exaggeration to state that Meesho is to social commerce what Flipkart was to ecommerce in late-2000s India.  One of many earliest startups within the sector, Meesho was based by IIT alumni Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal in 2015.

Meesho founders Sanjeev and Vidit - Series C funding

Meesho founders: Sanjeev Barnwal (left) and Vidit Aatrey

It has created an various distribution channel for homemakers, small entrepreneurs, academics, and college students to promote items on by means of WhatsApp, Fb, Instagram, and different social media platforms.

Meesho claims to have constructed a community of two million ‘social sellers’, almost 80 p.c of that are ladies. They’re promoting items from over 15,00zero suppliers in over 700 small cities. Its app is out there in seven native languages, with 40 p.c of its day by day energetic customers (DAUs) consisting of the non-English talking inhabitants. 

Bengaluru-based Meesho can also be one of many most-funded startups within the sector. It counts large names like Fb, Sequoia Capital, Shunwei Capital, SAIF Companions, Y Combinator, and others amongst its traders.

In August 2019, Meesho raised $125 million in a Sequence D spherical from Naspers. Previous to that, it had raised $25 million from Fb, in what was the corporate’s first-ever funding in an Indian startup. 



DealShare founding group

Based in 2018 by Vineet Rao and Sourjyendu Medda, DealShare is likely one of the fastest-growing social commerce startups in India. The multi-category social shopping for platform is modelled on China’s hottest social commerce startup, Pinduoduo

DealShare is targeted on what it calls ‘WhatsApp-first India’ consisting of lower- and middle-income teams in Tier II and III cities. By way of the platform, customers can get fruit and veggies, grocery objects, magnificence and wellness merchandise, and all different family necessities at day by day discounted costs

The startup, which started in Jaipur after which moved to Bengaluru, claims to be servicing greater than 15,00zero orders day by day, and is rising at 50 p.c month on month. Its app has recorded 400,00zero installs, and is out there in a number of native languages. 

In October 2019, DealShare raised $11 million from Matrix Companions and Falcon Edge Capital, with participation from Omidyar Community, and DST International. It plans to utilise the capital in increasing to 100 extra cities and enhance its logistics community. 


Delhi-based BulBul was based by Sachin Bhatia (who had additionally co-founded MakeMyTrip and TrulyMadly) and Atit Jain in 2018. 

BulBul _Surge

BulBul co-founders at Sequoia Surge

It’s India’s first multi-language live-video ecommerce platform that seeks to redefine the best way merchandise are purchased and offered on-line. 

BulBul lets sellers display their merchandise stay and reply viewers/consumers questions in actual time. On the client facet, it provides group shopping for and social sharing options to customers that lets them contain their friends within the buy. Basically, BulBul is bringing the standard bazaar-like shopping for expertise on-line. 

The startup claims to have processed over 4 lakh transactions and recorded a GMV of Rs 15 crore. Its short-form vendor movies have been seen over 15 million occasions. 

In October 2019, BulBul raised $14.7 million from Sequoia Capital. Previous to that, it was additionally part of Surge, Sequoia’s early-stage accelerator programme in India. The startup additionally counts Leo Capital and CDH Investments amongst its early traders.


GlowRoad was based in June 2017 by Sonal Verma, Kunal Sinha, Nitesh Pant, Shekhar Sahu, and Nilesh Padariya for stay-at-home moms and micro entrepreneurs to promote merchandise of their native networks and earn on-line. 

The Bengaluru-based social commerce startup claims to have greater than 100,00zero resellers, 20,00zero suppliers, and 300,00zero consumers on its platform, which course of 15,00zero+ transactions per day.

GlowRoad team

Staff at GlowRoad

Resellers, who attain clients by means of WhatsApp and Fb, get entry to hundreds of thousands of merchandise together with delivery amenities and funds. 

In April 2019, GlowRoad raised $10 million in a Sequence B spherical from CDH Investments, a Chinese language funding agency. The spherical additionally noticed participation from early backer Accel Companions, which had put in $2 million in a Sequence A spherical in 2017. 

In Might, the startup additional raised $11.5 million in a Sequence B+ spherical from Korea Funding Companions and Singapore-based Vertex Ventures. It plans to utilise the capital in increasing its vendor community and crossing 100,00zero transactions per day.


Based in 2018 by Nitin Raj Gupta and Shubham Paramhans, Mall91 blends stay video-based social purchasing, vernacular language catalogues that may be browsed with voice instructions, and WhatsApp-based checkouts on a single platform.


The Noida-based startup claims that it already reaches 2,00zero Tier II, III, and IV cities and even villages.

In October 2019, Mall91 raised $7.5 million in a Sequence A spherical led by Go-Ventures (the funding arm of Indonesia’s Gojek). The spherical additionally noticed participation from its early backers Beenext, Kalaari Capital and Angel Checklist India

Mall91 plans to make use of the funds to develop its enterprise throughout extra areas, each home and worldwide, ramp up its provide chain and product, and in addition add extra regional language capabilities. 


Simsim is lower than a 12 months outdated, however is already making waves within the social commerce sector. Based by Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri, and Saurabh Vashishtha in July 2019, it has already notched up greater than one million customers on its platform


Founders of Simsim- Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri, and Saurabh Vashishtha,

The Gurugram-based startup claims to be working with 1,200+ Group Opinion Leaders (or social influencers) to create content material round merchandise and promote them to consumers. Practically three-fourths of Simsim’s customers come from India's Tier II and III cities

After the orders are positioned, Simsim sources the merchandise from producers and suppliers, and delivers it to the purchasers by means of its third-party logistics companions. 

Inside a 12 months of its launch, the startup has pocketed $16 million in three funding rounds from Accel Companions, Shunwei Capital, and Good Capital. Simsim plans to utilise the capital in including extra languages to its app, and signing up 10 million clients by the top of this 12 months.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)


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