The social commerce sector has gained traction in recent times as companies around the world are now eyeing this new and emerging market that can revolutioze the way people shop. This time, it is Google’s video-sharing and social media platform YouTube which has entered the arena with the acquisition of Indian video-based social commerce start-up Simsim in a deal whose terms were not disclosed.
For its part, YouTube will not be making any immediate changes to Simsim, and the Simsim app will continue to operate independently while YouTube works on ways to showcase Simsim offers to YouTube viewers. YouTube has over 450 million monthly active users in the country.
“As more and more shopping happens online, video has an important role in helping viewers discover new products and find expert advice they trust. Every day, people come to YouTube to compare products, watch reviews and find recommendations from their favorite creators. Today, we are taking another step to help viewers discover and buy products from local businesses: we have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Simsim and expect to complete the transaction in the coming weeks,” said Gautam Anand, VP, YouTube, APAC in a blog.
“Online video will continue to grow as the primary way to find information, entertainment, and connections in India,” the blog post read. “With over 2,500 YouTube creators with over one million subscribers, and the success of YouTube Shorts, which we launched in India first, we’re committed to growing the creator community by making it even easier for the new generation of mobile-first creators to get started.” According to Anand, this transaction built up on YouTube’s ongoing investments in India, including the India Digitisation Fund.
As for Simsim, the young start-up aids small businesses in the country to transition to e-commerce smoothly with the help of creators launching videos on the app in three Indian languages. The Simsim app serves as a platform to connect local businesses, influencers, and customers. Founded by Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri, and Saurabh Vashishtha “with the mission of helping users across India shop online with ease, enabled through small sellers and brands showcasing and selling their products using the power of content by trusted influencers,” Simsim counts Shunwei Capital and Accel Partners among its investors.
“Being a part of the YouTube and Google ecosystem furthers Simsim in its mission. We cannot think of a better ecosystem in which to build Simsim, in terms of technology, reach, creator networks, and culture. We can’t wait to be part of YouTube and are excited to build Simsim within the most admired tech company in the world,” the co-founders said in a joint statement.
More and more companies have been gravitating towards this new form of e-commerce, with social media giant Facebook introducing similar features for Instagram and WhatsApp, allowing users to buy the stuff directly from the app. With this new acquisition, Google will aim to compete with that feature, and try to turn YouTube into a social commerce platform of its own.