Social commerce startup BulBul has raised $8.7 million in a round led by Info Edge. While Info Edge invested around $6.63 million, the remaining sum poured in by the existing investors that include Sequoia and Leo Capital.
Info Edge has entered an agreement to acquire 17.82% stake on a fully diluted basis, shows a stock exchange filing by the Noida-based public company. The investment will be executed via IE Venture Fund I. Info Edge had launched a Rs 100 crore fund in January to invest in early-stage startups.
According to filings with BSE, Info Edge India has acquired 416 0rdinary shares and 2002 Series A Preference shares in BulBul’s Singapore based parent entity. Importantly, the fresh capital is a part of $15 million Series A round announced by the company in October last year.
Beijing-based alternative asset management firm CDH Investments is also an existing investor in BulBul. It’s not clear whether CDH has participated in the Series A round since investment from China now requires prior approval from the government.
Founded by the co-founder of MakeMyTrip and TrulyMadly – Sachin Bhatia along with Atit Jain – Bulbul is a video and livestream led commerce platform that claims to make online shopping engaging and social. It features influencers who explain the product features and interact with customers to clarify their queries, helping them make a decision during a live broadcast.
The financing will bolster BulBul’s operations and accelerate its expansion plans. Akin to other e-commerce businesses, BulBul has also been facing steep fall in orders since March due to Covid-19 pandemic. However, social commerce companies are recovering at a fast pace because of the festive and wedding seasons.
BulBul had raised early investment from Sequoia and Leo Capital. Entrackr had exclusively reported about BulBul launch as well as its seed round. It was also a part of Sequoia’s first cohort of accelerator program – Surge.
As per Fintrackr estimates, the deal values the company nearly $ 35.5 million. Bulbul recorded revenues to the tune of Rs 4.5 crores during FY20.
The last two-three years saw the exponential growth of Chinese social commerce — a new flavour to traditional e-commerce which uses social media and social interaction to assist in the buying and selling of goods online. The euphoria peaked in 2019 when the market size of the Chinese social commerce crossed $250 billion.
India mirrored the excitement with companies such as Meesho and Shop101 raising large sums of money in 2019. In an attempt to replicate the Chinese social commerce success, several Indian companies also sprung up with investors willing to pour money into proven business models. These include the likes of Mall91, EkAnek, BulBul, SimSim and City Mall — few of which raised funds even before an idea in place.
Info Edge has invested in consumer-facing e-commerce companies after a long time. It invested in Happily Unmarried that diversified into men’s grooming through its brand ‘Ustraa’. The Sanjeev Bikhchandani-led group counts Zomato and PolicyBazaar in its portfolio.