Facebook has announced its first investment in an Indian startup, and has done so with an undisclosed funding round in social commerce startup Meesho. Meesho is a Bangalore based startup that helps India’s small businesses go online. Facebook is said to have taken a minority stake in the social commerce platform. Prior to this, Meesho had raised a $50Mn round back in 2018, led by Shunwei Capital.

The startup was founded in December 2015 by IIT Delhi grads. The social commerce platform lets small businesses and individuals to start their e-commerce stores through online channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook ,Instagram etc. Meesho is one of the three Indian based companies to be selected for Y Combinator’s 2016 batch.

One of the reasons that could have led to Facebook investing in Meesho, is the startup’s geographical expansion strategy. Meesho plans to grow outside the mainstream metros, to India’s Tier II/III cities. Meesho’s 80 percent re-seller base comprises of home makers — another factor that lured Facebook in.

“With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India. We love that the company is translating the power of online communities to expand economic opportunity for all of India, especially women.” says Ajit Mohan, Vice president and Manager Director at Facebook India.

Meesho curently claims a user base of over a million. Over the last 4 years, the startup claims to have grown to a community of more than 15,000 suppliers and 2,000,000 resellers throughout India. The startup’s app includes a language diversity of more than 7 local languages. A reseller would make 10 to 20 percent commission on his/her tradings.

Vidit Aatrey, CEO and co-founder of Meesho stated that the platform also looks forward to compete in the international market. He also said that this investment from Facebook would help them towards their common goal of helping grow smaller businesses.