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Facebook-backed Meesho may raise up to $130 mn from Naspers: Report

Facebook-backed Meesho may raise up to $130 mn from Naspers: Report
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Social commerce platform Meesho is in talks with South African tech conglomerate Naspers to raise $120-130 million (about Rs 827-896 crore at current exchange rate) just weeks after Facebook wrote a cheque to the reseller network of housewives and small businesses, The Economic Times reported.

The proposed funding from Naspers is expected to triple the startup’s valuation to $600-650 million, the report said.

Meesho was founded in 2015 by Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi alumni Vidit Aatrey (chief executive officer) and Sanjeev Barnwal (chief technology officer). Meesho, owned and run by Fashnear Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is based out of Bengaluru. It also has an entity incorporated in California, US, called Meesho Inc.

Meesho allows users to set up online shops and share content on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Pinterest. 

Before Meesho, Aatrey worked with ad-tech unicorn InMobi and diversified conglomerate ITC. Barnwal was previously with consumer electronics companies Sony and Samsung.

About a fortnight ago, Facebook invested $25 million in Meesho, five years after first acquiring an Indian startup.

Meesho was among the three Indian startups chosen by US startup incubator Y Combinator for its summer 2016 batch. That was the first time the Silicon Valley player had onboarded Indian startups.

Meesho had raised $50 million in a Series C round of funding last November from China's Shunwei Capital, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Partners and RPS Ventures, a fund set up by former SoftBank executive Kabir Misra. 

Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, SAIF Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator also took part in that round.

The round came just four months after Meesho had raised $11.5 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia.

Naspers has been one of the most prolific technology investors in India.

The South African conglomerate had led an investment of $540 million in ed-tech startup Byju's in December last year. In the same month, it led a $1 billion investment in food-tech unicorn Swiggy to mark one of the single-largest infusions into an Indian startup.

In May last year, Naspers harvested more than $2 billion by exiting its six-year bet on Flipkart after the e-commerce giant was acquired by Walmart.

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