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Exclusive: Yet to launch, vernacular video commerce app simsim bags $1.5 Mn


With the ongoing evolution of e-commerce in India since the past 6-8 years, new formats that have been tried and tested in China started enamouring local entrepreneurs. Besides social commerce (Meesho and Shop101), a slew of startups is evangelising model that is a mix of influencer marketing and live commerce.

Investors have also been showing confidence in the model that is worth about $18 billion in China. Several large scale companies like Taobao, AliExpress as well as niche platforms – Mavrck and Zorka.mobi have been very successful in the world’s second-largest economy.  

Bullish on the format that promises scale beyond usual e-commerce reach (50 to 80 million), Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed and Matrix Partners have put in $10 million seed round in EkAnek Networks while Sachin Bhatia-led Bulbul Shop was selected by Sequoia’s accelerator programme – Surge. It’s being already backed by Sequoia, Leo Capital and couple of angels.

simsim is the latest startup to raise funds from a clutch of angel investors. According to our sources, the startup led by ex Paytm and Foodpanda senior executives has closed about $1.5 million from several well-known angles including executives of Flipkart and Mckinsey.

“simsim would be following horizontal marketplace model but initially starting with women-centered categories and fashion,” said two sources aware with the company’s plan. They requested anonymity as simsim app is yet to make a debut on Play Store and iOS.

To a large extent, simsim would be following the path of Bubul Shop. It’s set to leverage influencers on one side and combine it with the power of video and audio commerce. “The idea is to make digital commerce accessible to users beyond 30-40 million regular online shoppers. Like BulBul, it will have an emphasis on vernacular languages,” added sources.

Marquee angel investors including Sunil Kalra, Gaurav Bedi, Maninder Gulati, Suhail Sameer, Sakshi Gudwani, Ankit Khera and Acorn Heavy Industry have already invested in the Delhi-based firm, reveals RoC filings.

Sources emphasised that ex-Google SouthEast Asia and India head – Rajan Anandan also invested in the firm. Queries sent to Amit Bagaria on Monday, one of the co-founders of simsim didn’t elicit any response. We will update the post as he responds.

Besides Bagaria, Kunal Suri and Saurabh Vashishtha are other co-founders of simsim. While Bagaria and Vashishtha were Senior Vice President with Paytm, Suri was erstwhile MD and COO of Foodpanda.

Live commerce and influencer-based commerce have just started in India. Nevertheless, the segment already has been witnessing decent interest from institutional investors and prominent angels. Since this segment is successful in China and many entrepreneurs and VCs believe that cloning such model (influencer+live commerce) with a local flavour would also work in India.

simsim: Website

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