Daily Consumer #13 - An Investor's Perspective on Meesho, an Emerging Giant in Indian Ecommerce

Plus the cloud kitchens and BNPL trends pick up momentum.

My Work

Q&A About Meesho with Bala Chandrasekaran, Investor at South Park Commons

Last week, Meesho was valued at $4.9B in a new funding round. I wanted to shine some light on what this India-based ecommerce marketplace is doing that is leading to fast growth and interest from the likes of Facebook to invest. I figured the best way to profile the business was to ask for perspectives from someone who is directly involved. The below comes from Bala Chandrasekaran who helped champion his firm’s decision to invest.

Q: What is the simplest way you can describe what Meesho is doing?

A: Meesho is an Indian social commerce company that gained popularity as a platform enabling small businesses and individuals to start online stores via social platforms (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram). Since its founding, Meesho has evolved into the go-to e-commerce destination for T3/T4 cities, where they specialize in unbranded/unorganized products. Over 70% of their sales are coming from now end-customers buying directly on the app.

Q: Who are Meesho sellers / why are there so many people that are a good fit to sell on Meesho?

A: Meesho has three sides to its marketplace: suppliers (manufacturers and distributors), resellers, and customers.

Resellers and suppliers are both considered sellers on the platform. When Meesho originally launched, resellers would coordinate with customers via WhatsApp on products they were interested in buying, and then resellers would buy from the suppliers. As Meesho gained popularity in India, suppliers and customers started interacting directly. So you could say Meesho sellers are both resellers and suppliers.

To answer the latter part of your question on why there are so many people that are a good fit - I would say that some of the most successful companies in the last decade and a half have been companies that have enabled people to have their own agency in the businesses they choose to take part in. I'm talking about companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Shopify, etc. The core value that all these companies have in common is that they enable everyday people to become businesspeople. It's a cliche, but "talent is universal but opportunity is not" rings true for all of these businesses.

I think Meesho is doing very much the same. They are extremely seller-friendly and make it so sellers have no upfront capital requirements to launch their business, including equipping sellers with the necessary toolkit (i.e payments, logistics, marketing, etc).

Q: Isn't Meesho just enabling what we would call "multi-level marketing/selling" in the US?

A: This is a reductive way to think about Meesho and an example of how US and Indian markets aren't directly comparable. As of last year, Meesho stopped charging commissions on products sold through the Meesho platform. This is part of what made them extremely supplier friendly and why so many suppliers exclusively offer their products on Meesho. Multi-level marketing in the US relies on pyramid-scheme dynamics to sustain less-efficient alternatives to highly organized, high-trust retail options. Meesho helps bring the offline, unorganized retail market online, creating a better option for Indian consumers while addressing the low-trust issue that is so prevalent in the Indian market. They also alleviate access issues by enabling selling over channels like WhatsApp/mobile that are more readily accessible in Tier 2+ cities. This is a huge unlock for Indian consumers in Tier 2+ cities, where they rely heavily on unorganized retail. Goes without saying I think Meesho is building something very special and impactful for India.

Q: Why is this form of commerce growing so quickly in India? It seems very different from how products are discovered and purchased in the US.

A: I think one of the areas we really had to call out during the diligence process was how difficult it was to build empathy for the Indian market as a US resident.

Important context on the Indian market is that they operate in a trust-deficit, meaning that the average consumer has little trust in anyone outside themselves, their friends, and their community.

When Meesho started, their wedge into the social commerce space was empowering resellers who historically couldn't build their businesses due to the upfront capital requirements. With Meesho, resellers could start businesses instantaneously and have the necessary toolbox (i.e. payments, logistics, marketing, etc) to build successful businesses while employing an asset-light inventory model by relying on Meesho's thoroughly curated supplier network. This enabled people within narrower trust networks to sell to each other.

Meesho's unique selling point was empowering individuals to leverage this community-trust dynamic and use it as a distribution for their social shops. This initial wedge created virality for Meesho, powering them to the top of India's app store. The local community-trust dynamic is an idiosyncrasy of the Indian market that wasn't easy to grok at first since it was so conceptually different from what we are used to seeing in the US. It's a powerful lever that Meesho has leaned on to grow.

Q: It's interesting to see Facebook invest in a startup. How do Facebook and other social networks play a role in Meesho's business?

A: The main bet that I think everyone believes in is that social commerce is going to grow significantly and capture mindshare on a global scale. It's no surprise that Facebook/Instagram are tackling the social commerce space pretty aggressively. I think in the US market they have good positioning given how much time FB/IG users spend on the apps.

However, in the Indian market, I think the dynamic is quite different. Consumers spend most of their time on WhatsApp and, as I mentioned before, India is considered a trust-deficit market, so the same tactics that work in the US won't necessarily work in India.

With this in mind, Facebook can try to tackle the social commerce market through IG the same way they approached the US market or they can invest in players in the local market that have significant edges. I think that was the case with Facebook investing in Meesho.

One of the extremely compelling aspects of the investment in Meesho was its logistics network. Meesho accounts for very large logistics volume in India, giving them pricing power with logistics providers because they can offer uniquely high utilization. These savings get passed down to suppliers, which makes Meesho the most supplier-friendly place to sell. At this point, Meesho has established itself as the best place for suppliers to showcase their unorganized retail products, with a majority of those products exclusive to Meesho's platforms. These sorts of moats are difficult for competitors to crack, especially for non-local businesses like Facebook who don't have their pulse on the market the way Meesho does.

My read on Facebook's participation was that since it'll be hard to compete head-to-head it makes sense to double-down on Meesho because most of their business is fueled through WhatsApp, which Facebook owns anyways.

Q: Is there some metric you can share that particularly 'wow's you about Meesho?

A: Can't share any specific metrics about Meesho, however, I think the most mind-boggling statistic is the one they led within the fundraising announcement:

"Today, 5% of Indian households shop with us EVERY Day, with 75% of them from Tier 2+ cities."

When I read that, it took me a second to internalize the magnitude of how important Meesho was to the Indian population. 5% of all Indian households, every day, is an enormous number of people.

The other interesting market statistic that surprised us during diligence was how nascent the Indian market was in getting people online and into ecommerce. Unlike the US market, Indian consumers primarily shop in unorganized retail. In 2021, the unorganized retail TAM is $792B and is expected to grow to $994B by 2025. In 2025, India's unorganized retail will contribute ~76% of overall retail in India. This dynamic is very similar to that of China where unorganized retail is ~80% of overall retail. Pinduoduo (PDD) was the primary beneficiary of unorganized retail moving online in China.

There's a nice analog between companies like PDD and Meesho. In China, PDD is leveraging their 1B+ MAUs on WeChat to drive sales. Similarly, India is positioned well to do the same by enabling its ~500M+ WhatsApp users to access commerce. The tailwinds of WhatsApp and Jio dropping data prices are unlocking a huge swath of internet users. India will exceed 800M Internet users by 2022 and Meesho is enabling these users to effortlessly integrate into the ecommerce ecosystem from the palm of their hands.

Community

  • QuantMar is a great forum-based community for performance marketers.

  • Shopify is hosting Commerce+, a virtual roundtable with notable brand founders.

News

  • Advertising.

    • Pinterest launches new ecommerce ad formats including collection slideshows and is also expanding its Verified Merchant Program.

    • Snapchat revamps their creator programs. Spotlight Challenges will reward creators with cash for driving engagement. Virtual Gifts will allow creators to get tips from their audiences. The Creator Marketplace is also being expanded to help creators get brand deals.

    • WPP and Snap will partner to develop more AR products to help Fortune 500 brands, of which WPP supports 325, reach consumers on Snapchat.

    • Youtube is expanding video action campaigns to connected TVs to make ads more shoppable. When viewers see a video action campaign on their TV, they are invited through a URL at the bottom of their screen to continue shopping on the brand’s website from their desktop or mobile device.

    • Brands are still reeling from the end of IDFA which is causing Facebook ad campaigns to become less efficient. Google Search, Google Shopping, direct mail, connected TV and cited as platforms that ad dollars are shifting to in response. “The agency’s clients, which include Untuckit and Birkenstock, saw Facebook revenue drop by 5% due to a 9% decrease in conversion.”

  • B2B Commerce. Distributor ecommerce sales in 2020 grew by 10% to $957B, even as total distributor and wholesaler sales declined by about 5%. “The ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused major and permanent shifts in how distributors and wholesalers conduct business.”

  • Black Friday.

    • Is starting now. Amazon just shared some deals in an attempt to reach holiday shoppers earlier.

    • LL Bean is pushing customers to shop earlier as they expect supply chain issues to limit inventory during the holiday season.

  • BNPL.

    • Target partners with Affirm and Sezzle to offer BNPL. “Sezzle is for smaller purchases, while Affirm is for purchases over $100.”

    • Upgrade is entering the BNPL space. “Will take all the purchases someone makes in a month and creates an installment plan for paying down the debt. The payment plans are typically long-term, ranging anywhere from six to 36 months, and charge a fixed interest rate.”

    • Affirm will launch a debit card and cryptocurrency trading for its users. Continues the trend of new fintech startups trying to become the one-stop shop for many financial services.

    • Zip signs a global partnership with Adyen to allow Adyen merchants to offer Zip BNPL at checkout. Adyen will also become a payment processing partner of Zip and will process consumer repayments when they use a credit or debit card.

  • BOPIS. Office Depot and OfficeMax are launching in-store and curbside pickup that has orders ready in 20 minutes.

  • Credit Card Rewards. US American Express Platinum cardholders can now get a statement credit for the cost of a Walmart+ membership, which is Walmart’s Prime-like service offering free shipping.

  • Earnings.

    • Brands

      • Levi’s saw Q3 2021 revenue grow 42% YoY to $1.5B. “Digital transactions were up 10% YoY and up 76% on a two-year basis. They accounted for about 20% of Levi’s total sales.”

      • Helen of Troy, a brand portfolio which includes Braun, Drybar and other health, home, and beauty brands, saw revenue decline 10.5% YoY to $475M. Cited a sales block due to packaging EPA compliance as a factor for the sales decline.

    • Omni-Channel Retailers

      • Bed Bath & Beyond saw their fiscal Q2 revenue decline 26% YoY to $1.99B. Cited Covid-19 resurgence as a significant contributor to missing expectations.

  • Fitness. Technogym, a fitness equipment manufacturer, is collaborating with Christian Dior on Dior co-branded treadmills, bench presses and gym balls. Is an appeal to potential luxury customers.

  • Gaming Commerce. Nars Cosmetics will be an early adopter of the new beauty section of editorial fashion game app Drest. Will allow Drest users to create customized beauty looks on virtual model avatars with 30 different Nars products.

  • Gen Z. Piper Sandler shares its latest semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which highlights spending trends and brand preferences from 10K teens nationwide with an average age of 15.8 years. “Clothing took the highest (22%) priority within the teen wallet since fall 2014, unseating food (21%). Crocs, PacSun, Hey Dude, Zara, Shein and Gymshark are all fashion brands gaining share with teens, while Under Armour & Vans had mixed results.”

  • Gifting.

    • Amazon will allow US Prime members to send gifts via its mobile app using only an email or phone number. Similar to the experience my portfolio company Goody is pioneering.

    • 1-800-Flowers integrates with Hero to allow corporate gifters to send gifts with one link and integrate gifting into their CRM to easily identify moments to send a gift.

  • Grocery.

    • Amazon is working on a smart fridge to track what’s inside and help you easily re-order.

    • Cabify, the Uber of Spain, launches its “super app” that also includes grocery delivery in 9 Spanish cities through a partnership with Lola Market.

    • Sam’s Club is launching D2C wine delivery, which will be available in 16 states in Q4.

    • Sunbasket partners with Instacart to make their meal kits available via the platform nationwide.

    • Weis Markets partners with Doordash to enable on-demand grocery delivery from 170 stores across 7 states.

  • Influencer-Driven Commerce.

    • More on Tom Brady’s plans for his fashion brand called “Brady”.

    • Jimmy Butler, a NBA star, launches his own coffee brand called Bigface with the support of Shopify.

    • The Jonas Brothers are launching Rob’s Backstage Popcorn in partnership with CPG incubator The Naked Market. Will be available DTC via their ecommerce site.

  • Live Shopping.

    • Clipperton releases a 35-page thought piece on live shopping.

    • Macy’s will begin hosting weekly live shopping events in its updated mobile app. “The Macy’s Live sessions will feature the retailer’s Stylists in an interactive chat environment where they will offer detailed product descriptions, give real-time reviews and make recommendations. Each session will have a focused theme, such as fall and holiday apparel.”

    • Newegg is rolling out live shopping in its mobile app as well. Expects to livestream Newegg Live events weekly. “On September 1, 2021, Newegg previewed the new livestream to an audience of more than 10K users, showcasing 20 products over the course of the 90-minute event.”

  • Logistics.

    • Cruise plans to have “tens of thousands” of autonomous cars on the road by 2025 to do rideshare trips and deliveries. Robotics will structurally lower delivery costs and make the value proposition of ecommerce even stronger.

    • Home Depot will be Walmart’s first customer for its GoLocal local delivery service. “Home Depot customers have an option for same-day or next-day delivery on a variety of home improvement products.”

  • Loyalty. Honey users will now be able to redeem their Honey Gold loyalty points for cash credit that can be used on their next PayPal purchase.

  • Membership-Driven Commerce. Best Buy launches Totaltech, an annual membership program that costs $200. Offers unlimited, 24/7 tech support, exclusive prices on products, free shipping, an extended window for returns, and more. Retailers are trying to build their own Amazon Prime-like revenue stream.

  • Omni-Channel Commerce. Savage x Fenty, the lingerie brand founded by Rihanna, is opening brick & mortar stores in 2022. “There are just customers who don't feel comfortable purchasing online.”

  • Payments. Pacsun will be the first major brand in the fashion and retail space to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using leading blockchain payment provider, BitPay. “The Gen Z audience, our primary consumer, is very tech oriented, and we dedicate a lot of our efforts towards social media and ecommerce to align with their lifestyles and resonate with them on a more personal level.”

  • Resale.

    • Zalando, a large Europe-focused fashion retailer with 45M active consumers, partners with Save Your Wardrobe to launch Care & Repair which will connect Zalando consumers to service providers for repair and alterations.

    • Adidas partners with ThredUp to allow Adidas Creators Club users to resell their sneakers in exchange for Adidas credit.

  • Restaurants.

    • ChowNow launches Order Better Network, a consumer food ordering app with 12% commission, which is lower than alternatives. “The Order Better Network helps restaurants set up digital storefronts on these social platforms so diners can browse, order and checkout without leaving them. The new offering has shown to grow online sales by an average of 30%.”

    • Yelp is consolidating its software products for restaurants into one product called Guest Manager. Offers reservations, waitlist, table management, and takeout capabilities and costs $299 per month.

    • TGI Fridays will open 300 cloud kitchens in partnership with Reef.

  • Same-Day Delivery.

    • Modern Retail profiles the 15-min grocery delivery players in NYC and how they are quickly taking up available retail location leases.

    • Giant, an east-coast grocery chain, enables 30-minute delivery for 20K select items in partnership with Instacart.

  • SMS Marketing. Attentive partners with Authentic Brands Group to power SMS marketing for their portfolio brands like Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, Juicy Couture, and Nautica. “Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand are already seeing successful results with each brand signing up over 200K SMS subscribers. Brooks Brothers has also delivered 152x ROI on its text message marketing program since launching with Attentive.”

  • Subscription Commerce. Chargify integrates with BigCommerce to allow BigCommerce merchants to easily offer products on subscription.

  • Sustainability. Zalando launches its 2nd “redeZIGN for circularity” collection from its private label ZIGN. Encompasses 50 items made from recycled or renewable materials.

Funding and Exits

Brands

  • Beauty and Skincare.

    • Wellbeam Consumer Health acquires TruSkin, a brand behind plant-based skincare products and which owns the best-selling facial serum on Amazon.

    • MyGlamm acquires The Moms Co, an India-based mom and baby-focused skincare brand, for $67M.

  • Earrings. Studs raises $20M from Spark Capital for its omni-channel jewelry plus piercing services brand. “About 70% of Studs’ revenue comes from its studio-based piercing operations, while the other 30% comes from selling jewelry online. Most of Studs’ earrings are made overseas and cost about $20 for a single earring or $40 for a pair.”

  • Fitness. Frame Fitness raises $5M from Mark Mastrov, Jim Rowley and others for its connected at-home Pilates machine that will retail at $2,999.

  • Food and Beverage.

    • Kingdom Supercultures raises $25M from Shine Capital for its microbial cultures that are key to making plant-based yogurts and cheeses, low-alcohol wines and beers, and natural preservatives. Will sell its technology to consumer goods manufacturers.

    • Slate raises $3.3M from Peter Rahal, Doug Bouton, and others for its lactose-free, ultra-filtered chocolate milk product. “Slate grew sales 300% from 2020 to 2021, more than 60% of which came from ecommerce.”

    • Better Brand raises $2.5M from Seven Seven Six for its lower carb products starting with The Better Bagel. “Using modified enzyme technology, we can redefine this traditionally carb-heavy food by reducing the carbohydrate content from that of a traditional bagel into the carb equivalent of two banana slices, while boasting an impressive 24g of protein.”

  • Furniture. Arhaus, an omni-channel furniture brand, files to go public. Generated $335M revenue in H1 2021.

  • Lawncare. Sunday raises $50M from Bond Capital for its D2C subscription-based sustainable lawn nutrients. “The company says its top-line revenue has grown 2.5x over the last year.”

  • Perfume. LVMH acquires Officine Universelle Buly 1803, a French perfume and cosmetics company.

  • Petcare. Alpha Paw raises $8M from Nordic Eye for its dog and cat food and supplement products. “The company had $20M in sales last year and is projected this year to do $35M in sales this year.”

  • Supplements. Novos raises $3M from Resolute Ventures for its science-backed supplements brand.

Marketplaces

  • Advertising.

    • AppLovin acquires MoPub from Twitter for $1.05B which generated $188M in revenue in 2020. MoPub is an ad auction marketplace that helps publishers maximize display ad revenue.

    • Canal raises $4.5M from A16Z and Forerunner for its infrastructure that enables existing storefronts to sell products from a curated network of suppliers with a similar ethos.

  • Art. Masterworks raises $110M from Left Lane Capital for its marketplace that allows people to buy fractional ownership in art.

  • B2B Commerce.

    • Ula raises $87M from Prosus Ventures, Tencent, B Capital, and Jeff Bezos. Operates an Indonesia-focused wholesale ecommerce marketplace to help store owners stock only the inventory they need and access working capital.

    • Zax raises $6M from Atlantico for Brazil-focused wholesale marketplace that allows retailers to discover and purchase inventory across clothing, shoes, electronics, toys, etc. “Zax is working with over 700 suppliers and more than 50K buyers using the platform.”

    • Chari raises $5M from Plug and Play, Village Capital, and others for its mobile marketplace allowing small retailers in Morocco to order products from onboarded FMCG companies and local manufacturers and get them in less than 24 hours. Chari takes a percentage (10-30%) from every sale it makes to shop owners and provides credit to the shops. “Currently transacts about $2.5M monthly and has signed up 15K merchants.”

    • The Main Tab raises $1M from Jason Bright for its curated wholesale marketplace that connects retailers with select brands. “The NYC-based company is poised to launch the new website and app this fall with about 200 retailers, but has a waiting list of approximately 1K retailers.”

  • Brand Accelerators. Pattern Brands raises $225M from Knox Lane at a $2B valuation for its ecommerce accelerator that helps brands optimize sales on marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay and Google. “Pattern’s platform works with brands for free to accelerate sales by buying the brand’s inventory, figuring out where the gaps are in sales, optimizing it across the marketplaces and identifying insights for boosting margins. The company expects to surpass $1B in revenue within the next year.”

  • Brand Rollups. Mainfactor raises $69M in debt and equity from Upper90 to buy small and midsize companies that sell clothes, cosmetics, and fitness products online.

  • Grocery.

    • Licius raises $52M from IIFL for its ecommerce marketplace that sells meat and seafood in 14 Indian cities. “Has built a supply chain network across several Indian cities to be able to procure meat and seafood, keep them fresh and deliver within hours of the order. Now has over 2M unique customers.”

    • Hors Normes raises $1.7M from Stride VC and Kima Ventures for its marketplace that offers “imperfect” produce from producers to consumers via a subscription box of items that come in at 20-30% lower cost than supermarkets.

  • Influencers. ProductWind raises $1.7M from Early Light Ventures for its marketplace that connects brands with influencers in one click. Want to allow brands to set up 100-influencer campaign within minutes versus the traditional weeks.

  • International Commerce. Noon.com, which aims to be the Amazon of the Middle East, is rumored to raise $2B from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

  • Logistics.

    • Huboo raises $81M from Mubadala for its software-driven ecommerce warehousing and fulfillment services. Has 4 warehouses in the UK and over 1K customers.

    • Pandion raises $30M from Bow Capital for its network of warehouses for online retailers. Its first sortation center is opening soon and will help major retailers offer low-cost, reliable two-day deliveries in the US Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. “Aims to operate 20 sorting centers within the next 3-4 years.”

  • Rental.

    • Rent the Runway files their S-1 ahead of going public. Revenue is falling and margins are low due to the infrastructure they have to build and maintain to keep rental items in good condition.

    • Wardrobe raises $4M from Slow Ventures for its P2P fashion rental marketplace. “The company uses retail dry cleaning locations as hubs for its service where renters can pick up and drop off clothing if they are in NYC.”

  • Restaurants.

    • Rebel Foods raises $175M from QIA at a $1.4B valuation and is at a $150M revenue run-rate. Operates a network of 4K cloud kitchens in India and 9 other countries which house 45 food brands such as Wendy’s. “The big disruption that the cloud kitchen model brought about is that you don’t have to put up 5 real estate locations to run 5 different restaurants. As carmakers produce dozens of models from 1 factory, using technology, supply chain and workflows, you can actually have 1 kitchen for 5 restaurants.”

    • All Day Kitchens raises $65M from Lightspeed for network of satellite kitchens that allow partner restaurants to expand their presence without having to put up any upfront costs. “Now operates more than 15 locations throughout the Bay Area and Chicago. Saw the number of partners joining the platform grow by 4x over the past year and revenue has also increased 18x over the past 18 months.”

    • Kitchen United, an operator of cloud kitchens that are used by large restaurant brands, acquires Zuul, a NYC-focused cloud kitchen operator.

  • Social Commerce. Favo raises $26.5M from Tiger Global for its Brazil-focused social commerce platform focused on groceries. Resembles Meesho in many ways. “The company is working with 160K buyers and seeing revenue increase 30% MoM. Buyers can choose from over 3K products that are delivered to them within 24 hours.”

Software

  • Analytics.

    • Peel Insights raises $5.3M from Lerer Hippeau, Vinyl VC, and Eniac Ventures for its ecommerce-focused analytics platform that makes it easy for business owners to understand their business performance.

    • Gap acquires CB4, a retail-focused artificial intelligence platform, which provides technology that is intended to increase sales and improve customer experience through predictive analytics.

  • AR Commerce. 1-800 Contacts acquires Ditto, which makes virtual eyewear try-on software. “Over 60M people per year have benefited from Ditto’s state-of-the-art technology that allows shoppers to realistically try-on eyewear and receive insightful frame recommendations both in person and online.”

  • Cars. Tekion raises $250M from Alkeon and Durable Capital at a $3.5B valuation. Offers a cloud-based dealer management system to car dealerships which enables transactions to take place digitally as well as in-person.

  • Construction. CostCertified raises $8.45M from Fuse for its software platform that allows contractors to send a shoppable interactive estimate to homeowners so that they can choose their selections during a project and see the effect on price instantly. “CostCertified has $72M in annualized GMV.”

  • Ecommerce Platform.

    • Nuvemshop, which aims to the the Shopify of Latam, acquires Mandae, one of the largest ecommerce-focused logistics companies in Brazil.

    • PideDirecto raises $5.25M from JAM Fund for its Mexico-focused fully integrated ecommerce platform which includes fulfillment and sub-30 min delivery. “The company has grown 32% MoM, has approximately 1K brand clients and has processed more than 500K orders.”

    • Klasha raises $2.4M from Greycroft for its Africa-focused API-based payments and logistics services that enables cross-border commerce. Klasha Checkout, for example, allows international merchants to collect payments from Africa in local currencies. “Since Klasha relaunched in May following some iterations, it has processed more than 20K transactions and claims to be growing 366% MoM.”

  • Grocery. Instacart acquires FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system that powers end-to-end order-ahead and catering for grocery retailers. “Our goal is to help our retail partners increase their sales and ensure more of their customers’ everyday meals come from the grocery store.”

  • Live Shopping. Upmesh raises $3M from Leo Capital for its live shopping software that integrates into live streaming platforms like Facebook. Is being used by 300 merchants in Southeast Asia that are driving $40M annualized GMV. Resembles CommentSold in the US.

  • Retention Marketing. mParticle raises $150M from Permira Growth at an $800M valuation for its customer data platform used by brands like Airbnb and Burger King. “Annual recurring revenue grew by 50% in 2020 and is on track to increase 100% YoY in 2021, split between big enterprise clients and startups.”

  • SMS Commerce. Wizard raises $50M from NEA, Accel, and Marc Lore for its B2B product that will “enable brands and retailers to transact with consumers over text.”

Fintech

  • Gift Cards. Govalo raises $2M from Overlooked Ventures and Sugar Capital for its Shopify application that allows merchants to easily offer gift cards.

  • Neobanks. Copper raises $9M from PSL Ventures for its teen-focused neobank. “The 2-year-old startup launched earlier this year, and today has over 350K users on its platform. Since its launch, Copper has been seeing about 70% MoM growth and about 70% of users are being drawn to the platform through organic word of mouth.”

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