From left: Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev BarnwalVidit Aatrey | 27
Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India
Sanjeev Barnwal | 28
A few years after graduating from IIT-Delhi, batchmates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal founded a hyperlocal, on-demand fashion marketplace, or the “Swiggy for fashion” as they call it. The startup failed, but in the process the duo hit upon a key insight: Several small businesses were selling their wares online, but weren’t using their own websites to do so; nor were they listed on Amazon or Flipkart. Instead, they were leveraging the power of social media.
“But Facebook and WhatsApp lack features for commerce,” says Aatrey. Consider the separate notifications that need to be sent on WhatsApp for every new product, or that searches or payments aren’t possible via these channels. So the Y-Combinator alums set up Meesho—short for “meri shop”—in December 2015 to help merchants sell more efficiently through social media.Click here to view the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list
Traders and manufacturers—or “sellers”—create a marketplace on the Meesho app, while “resellers”, mostly housewives, promote and sell products curated from this marketplace within their social network. They simply link their Facebook pages to Meesho to set up a mobile store, chat with customers via WhatsApp from the app and can easily close sales by sending a payment link on the messaging service. Meesho takes care of delivery and monetises by charging sellers a commission. About 1,000 sellers and 30,000 resellers are listed on the platform, which is growing by 40 percent month-on-month.
Says Mukul Arora of Saif Partners which led Meesho’s $3.4 million series A investment last year, “This is an India-specific play, and if executed well, is a huge opportunity.” Click here to view the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list
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(This story appears in the 16 February, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)