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InMobi owned Glance acquires Shop101 to foray into live commerce

InMobi owned Glance acquires Shop101 to foray into live commerce
14 Jun, 2021

Glance, part of mobile-advertising company InMobi and owner of short-video platform Roposo, said on Monday it had acquired social commerce firm Shop101 to launch celebrity and influencer-led live commerce on mobile lock screens.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives Glance and Roposo access to an ecommerce technology platform, a supply chain infrastructure and a talent base to build the celebrity and influencer driven commerce platform, it said in a statement.

Operated by O(1) India, Shop101 enables merchants and other small ticket sellers, including housewives, college students and young graduates to sell products primarily via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

Founded in 2015 by Abhinav Jain, Aditya Gupta and Kalpak Chhajed, Shop101’s full stack platform claims to have a network of 10 million resellers and 10,000 supplier partners who serve customers across over 2000 towns in India. The company employs around 300 people.

“We had started Shop101 as a social e-commerce platform with a vision to democratise entrepreneurship and commerce for the masses using a technology-first approach. With Glance and Roposo, Shop101 will now be part of a company that shares our goal of transforming the shopping experience for millions of consumers globally,” Jain said.

Shop101’s last funding round was about a year ago. According to VCCEdge, Shop101 has raised a little over $20 million across three investment rounds with its last round being in March 2020. The company’s investor pool included Vy Capital, Kalaari Capital, Stellaris Venture Partners and Unilever Ventures, the investment unit of London headquartered fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) major Unilever. 

The Mumbai-based startup competes with players such as Meesho, GlowRoad and Bulbulshop in the social ecommerce space, which is gathering pace in India.

Meesho bagged $300 million in a growth funding round in April from SoftBank at a valuation of $2.1 billion.  GlowRoad has raised a total of $31 million from investors such as Accel, Vertex Ventures, Korea Investment Partners (KIP), and CDH Investments. Bulbulshop is backed by Naukri parent Info Edge, Sequoia Capital India and Leo Capital.

Bengaluru-based Glance delivers artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, personalised content on smartphones. The company partners with Android phone makers to place new, personalised visual and interactive content on smartphone screens every time a user wakes up his phone. It uses AI to identify trending topics, and it also comes pre-loaded on budget smartphone devices.

In December last year, Glance raised $145 million from Google and returning investor Mithril Capital. The round reportedly valued the company at over $1 billion. Previously, it had secured $45 million from Peter Thiel-backed Mithril Capital in September 2019, months after it was hived off as a separate subsidiary by SoftBank-backed InMobi in early 2019.

The Shop101 deal marks the second acquisition for Glance. In November 2019, it acquired multilingual short video platform Roposo in what was widely reported as a distress deal.  The acquisition gives Glance access to Gurugram-based Roposo’s network of professional, vernacular content creators, users, video technology, platform and brand. Glance leverages Roposo’s regional influencers to create vernacular video content for the locked smartphone screens.

With 300 million devices and 125 million daily active users, Glance claims to be the largest live lock screen platform in the world. According to the company, Roposo has seen over 100 million downloads and is used by close to 1.2 million content creators.