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.
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."
In the year since they were recognised, most in our cohort of young achievers have gone the distance. And those who have faced adversities, soldiered on. But for the most part, the Millennials are alright, as this report card shows
Here are some achievers who narrowly missed out making it to the final 30 in our Class of 2018. But who knows? Some could make it to the main list as soon as next year!