Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey
Category winner: Start-up
Revolutionizing social commerce in India
Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey have so far enabled over 15 million entrepreneurs, of which 9 million are women, to start business with zero investment. The duo, both IITians, founded the reseller-focused platform Meesho and pioneered social commerce in the country.
Established in 2015, Meesho stands for “meri shop“ or “apni dukaan“. Fashnear, the brand under which Meesho operates, was founded when the duo decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge by quitting their cushy, secured jobs. The goal was simple: help individual retailers and small businesses in India digitize their businesses. The venture was one of three Indian start-ups chosen by Y Combinator, a venture capital company, in 2016.
With a vision to enable 100 million small and individual businesses to succeed online, the Bangalore-based startup aspires to build an environment where even individuals can establish a business with zero investment. Almost 71% of new Meesho users come from tier 2 and 3 towns.
On the financial front, Meesho has so far raised US$1062 million. After its latest round of funding — US$570 million in September 2021 Meesho is valued at nearly US$5 billion, making it one of the most valuable start-ups in India. It is also the first Indian startup to secure funding from Facebook.
In 2022, Meesho is among the top 10 downloaded apps globally. The pace at which its orders and users have galloped is equally stunning. From 1.2 million orders in February 2019 to 80 million by October 2021, Meesho’s growth has thrilled its backers every step of the way. The profound impact made by Meesho on the industry and culture helped it secure the #14 spot on Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (MIC) 2020 list and the only Indian company to be featured in that year.
On a mission to democratize e-commerce in India, Meesho will keep taking bold bets to continue exploring and expanding into newer avenues.