Meesho: Start Your Reselling Business From 0
“Don’t find customers for your product. Find products for your customers.” – Seth Godin
Today, there is no need to spend hours getting ready to go shopping when you can easily click a few buttons on your phone and get everything delivered right to you. But the process is not that simple for resellers. They have to spend days or even weeks finding brands, and customers, establishing their stores, etc.
Well, that was until Sanjeev Barnwal and Vidit Aatrey decided to change things for new businesses that worked with reselling. And that is how they came to start the online shopping platform Meesho!
Meesho is a company that works as a reselling platform, helping businesses to start without any investments. With just a few clicks, anyone can resell branded products on the Meesho website or app and make a profit. But how did this small idea turn into a billion dollars worth company?
Let’s go through Sanjeev and Vidit’s journey and see how Meesho came to life!
Setting the Foundation
Growing up in Bengaluru, India, both Sanjeev and Vidit’s upbringing was quite common. They were raised and taught the value of hard work, which is the key that pushed them forward to building something extraordinary.
Sanjeev Barnwal went to DAV JVM Shyamali, Ranchi high school from 2005-2007 and a year later started university. He got accepted into the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, where he earned a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering.
Interestingly enough, even though he graduated in 2012 with a tech degree, Sanjeev always leaned more toward entrepreneurship, finding and developing ways in which he could help not just himself but the entire Indian society. Luckily, this is where he met his now co-founder – Vidit Aatrey, who shared a similar idea.
Vidit also started university in 2008 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and even graduated in the same branch as Sanjeev. In fact, both of them lived together during their student days in the same hostel, which drew them closer, the connecting point being their desire to create something more.
The Indian E-Commerce Revolution
Right after graduation, Sanjeev and Vidit started working in different places, putting their degrees to good use.
Even while in university, Sanjeev started working at Samsung as an Android Application Development Intern. And right after he got his degree, he went to Sony, where his first job was as a Personal Application Design Engineer. Sanjeev switched several working positions in this company until 2015 when he decided it was time to act upon his initial idea.
On the other side, Vidit began his employment journey at ITC Limited. He, later on, moved to InMobi, where he worked up until 2015 – the year when he and Sanjeev decided it was time to start their own business.
What sparked their plan was the sole fact that the Indian e-commerce revolution at the time was only targeting tier 1 users, meaning there were only branded products on the platforms. This pushed aside all other potential clients and left them with only one option – going to the store and directly purchasing there.
But Indian commerce, as Sanjeev saw it, was more than 90% unbranded, which left a huge gap in the online market. So together with Vidit, they decided it was time to solve this problem; it was time to take e-commerce and bring it into all parts of India. And that is when Meesho was born!
In 2015, Sanjeev and Vidit started working on completely remodeling the online commerce marketplace. They saw that the market was heavily unexploited; so many tier 2+ brands and people wanted to purchase them, but 0 connection between them.
At first, they started by building a platform that would work locally and focus on fashion. Their idea was for them to do what Swiggy did with food. The idea was to sign various local stores and then deliver the goods to the customers.
Initially, Sanjeev and Vidit offered clients the option to choose between 3 things, and they would have them delivered to them. Then the customer would decide if they wanted to purchase all or just one – and have the rest returned.
But as good as this sounded, the practical process was hard. Sanjeev and Vidit had to do everything on their own – manage the Meesho app, get the inventory from every shop, deliver the goods, etc. They also found that people were especially interested in sales, i.e., discounts. And as a primarily offline shop, they couldn’t compete with the offers on the market.
After an enlightening conversation with a shop owner in Koramangala, the duo came to the conclusion that their model needed more – something innovative that could tailor to everyone’s needs.
That is when they opened up Meesho (Meri Shop).
A Simple Aim
The Indian marketplace heavily relied on Facebook and WhatsApp groups, so Sanjeev and Vidit chose to use that in their app. But, the thing that firmly paved the road for growing Meesho into the company it is today were women resellers.
Sanjeev and Vidit noticed that many of the people that integrated their app with Facebook or WhatsApp were, in fact, women that were simply selling clothes or other products straight from their homes. They began talking with these women, trying to understand what drove them into such a business. And the answer they got was simple – online selling was way better and easier than opening up a store.
So Meesho’s goal became simple: help every business or individual resell brands while giving the clients what they want without the need to leave their homes. With a lot of effort and changes along the way, Meesho grew to a platform that was a bridge between the seller and the retailer, taking care of everything in between, like delivery, returns, support, etc.
Meesho’s 0% Commission Rate
So, how does Meesho make money if they charge 0% commission from suppliers? The answer is: through its monetization construct. Thus, the company makes money via seller ads on the Meesho website and app.
Funding the Growth
Since its start, Meesho has had 11 funding rounds that have rounded to $1.1 billion, making it a unicorn. It has 37 investors so far, with 15 of them being leading ones, such as Trifecta Capital Advisors and Good Capital.
The first round was an Angel Round in 2016, where Meesho gained $180,000, with Investopad, Rajul Garg, and Venture Highway being the leading investors. In the same year, the Seed Round brought $120,000 from Y Combinator, which was the crucial turning point for Sanjeev and Vidit. They used these funds to build up on their idea, bring more retailers and create a better connection overall.
As the years came, Meesho’s financing grew, finishing with a Round F that gained $570 million. Currently, the company is valued at $2.1 billion.
Meesho also made 2 investments in 2020 and 2021, both to Elenas – a company that works on the same method but targets Columbia. What’s more, both Sanjeev and Vidit have also made investments in the role of an Angel Investor in several companies.
The Future of Selling
Meesho has its headquarters in Bangalore, Karnataka, India, and employs more than 1000 people. The company has grown 10 times more than the initial base and won several acknowledgments. They have expanded to Indonesia and plan to grow their team with more tech support.
Many call Meesho’s online shopping platform a clear competitor of Amazon and Flipkart, even though it is only centered in India for the time being. Companies like SoftBank Investment Advisers have stated that the expected growth will be even better than what has been shown so far, considering the company’s engagement metrics and emphasis on unit economics.
As for Sanjeev and Vidit, hitting the unicorn mark is just the start of showing how high Meesho can go!