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Exclusive: Social commerce startup CityMall set to raise $3 Mn from SAIF

Social commerce startup CityMall is in advanced talks with SAIF Partners to close a fresh financing round of up to $3 million, said three people aware of the conversation. This will be the first institutional round for the firm which was launched one-and-a-half years ago. 

This development comes at a time when early-stage deals fell by 50% in the first six months of 2020. 

“The conversation has been on for the past couple of months and a term sheet has been signed. The contours of the deal are also finalised and if nothing goes wrong from here, the round will be announced soon,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity. “CityMall is also in early talks with a couple of funds and it may end up raising more money.”

CityMall sells lifestyle and household products through peer-to-peer referrals on WhatsApp. Akin to several social commerce startups, the company has been creating a reseller base targeting women in tier-II, III and IV cities. According to past media reports, the company had a target to reach 20,000 orders by 2020.

If the deal gets through, this would be the third investment by SAIF Partners in the social commerce space. Previously, SAIF invested in Meesho, which is considered to be the market leader in the social commerce space and WMall which was launched by a former VC from SAIF. 

Entrackr had exclusively reported WMall’s Series B round in September 2019.

According to regulatory filings, CityMall had raised seed funding from six institutions and 14 individual investors. Madison Capital, Smile Capital, Sprout Investments, Sin Growth Partners, Stellaris VC, Angellist India and SRP Avenues LLP participated in its seed round. 

Blue-chip angels such as Jitendra Gupta, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal, Hitesh Chawala, Pritesh Gupta and Rajesh Sawhney including several others also invested in the Gurugram-based company.

CityMall was founded by IIT alumni Angad Kikla, Divij Goyal and Naisheel Verdhan. This is Kikla’s third venture after B2B marketplace Hawkr and BeatRoot Innovations. Goyal had a past stint at Ziploan while Verdhan is also a serial entrepreneur.

CityMall has also approved the adoption of ESOP Scheme 2020 which constitutes 1,381 options and these ESOPs would account for 9.75% stake in the company. 

While CityMall declined to comment on the story, SAIF did not respond to our questionnaire.

Social commerce has been one of the segments that attracted significant interest from venture capitalists in 2019. Last year, close to half a dozen early-stage startups had scooped up investments from the likes of Sequoia, SAIF Partners, Accel, Shunwei Capital and Lightspeed. 

Sequoia invested in BulBul and also participated with LightSpeed and Matrix in EkAnek’s $10 million Series A round. SAIF led WMall’s last round while Accel and Shunwei invested in Delhi-based SimSim.

Entrackr had exclusively reported the funding of these companies here, here, here and here.

With the impact of Covid-19 on every kind of business, experts anticipate consolidations across sectors including the social commerce space which is likely to see mergers and acquisition activities by early next year. According to them, social commerce startups are likely to consolidate in two or maximum three fronts in the long haul.

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