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Exclusive: Unable to find investors, Sistema-backed Wooplr explores M&A deal

Social commerce has emerged as a new format in the Indian e-commerce space. Bullish on the new model, investors made bold bets on Meesho, Shop101, and Glowroad. Even so, one of the early evangelists of social commerce model – Wooplr- has been struggling to find backers.

According to three credible sources including an investor in the firm, Wooplr is looking for an acquisition deal. “Existing investors Sistema Asia Fund, Amereus Group, and Helion Ventures had refused to put in follow-on capital and its talks with Chinese VC CDH Investments failed to fructify,” said two sources aware of the development.

Sources requested anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Sources emphasized that talks with CDH progressed to an advanced stage, however, it backed out at the last moment for some unknown reason. A VCCircle report in August last year also hinted that it was in talks with a Chinese investor for $20 million worth Series C round.

Although we don’t know the reasons why CDH walked out from the deal, it certainly has a strong interest in social commerce platform. Three weeks ago, CDH had led a $10 million round in Wooplr’s rival – GlowRoad.

“Since existing, as well as new investors, had said no to fresh funding, Wooplr has been scouting for strategic merger and acquisition deal,” added aforementioned sources. They outlined that it’s also in conversation with cross border companies for possible acquisition.

Given that Wooplr has been unable to find further backers, any M&A deal won’t be significant. “It would be a kind of acquihire,” stressed sources.

Started as a fashion discovery platform Wooplr pivoted to become a full-fledged social commerce platform in April 2017. The firm had raised about $15 million total capital from Helion Ventures, Sistema Asia, Astarc Ventures and a couple of high profile angels – Ankit Nagori and Anand Chandrasekaran.

Last June it also raised Rs 3.5 crore venture debt from Trifecta Capital.

Entrackr queries sent to Arjun Zachariah, co-founder, and CEO of Wooplr didn’t elicit an immediate response. We will update the post as they respond.

It’s worth noting that Wooplr was founded six years ago by four former McAfee employees – Zachariah, Soumen Sarkar, Ankit Sabharwal, and Praveen Rajaretnam. However, Sarkar and Rajaretnam had moved from the firm at the starting of 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Looking at perils of Wooplr, it won’t be surprising if the firm shuts down operation in case nothing materialises on M&A front. Even if it gets success on orchestrating a deal – it would likely be an acquihire, rather than an acquisition.

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