Facebook makes its first investment in India
Priya Wadhwa
What's the Deal

Facebook makes its first investment in India

Exploring revenue streams in new markets.

Messaging apps that compete with or complement Facebook have been raising investments from Facebook or its former executives or being acquired by Facebook.

The most recent and first investment in India by social media giant is in India’s Meesho, an app that enables social commerce via WhatsApp.

Dubbed as India 2, Meesho is also a Y Combinator alumnus. Essentially, it is an online marketplace that allows e-commerce via connecting sellers and customers through WhatsApp, which has a massive penetration in the country.

Meesho caught Facebook’s attention for a number of reasons:

  1. Meesho claims to help thousands of resellers earn more than Rs 25,000 ($360) each month.

  2. Its user base is in rural parts of India, which still does not have much internet penetration. The four-year old startup has a network of more than 2 million.

  3. It’s comprised majorly of women in a country where 70% of the internet users are male.

A platform that is aimed at India 2 and has such a large user base of women — when most people online in India are predominantly men — is a remarkable achievement.
Ajit Mohan, VP and managing director of Facebook India

Since Facebook’s user base has been on the decline, losing more than 15 million since 2017, this indicates Facebook’s interest in tapping into other revenue streams.

Making WhatsApp a more lucrative, money-making business is obviously on the horizon. The only question is what will Facebook do to forward this vision.

Could we be moving to an age of interpersonal interactions as opposed to mass announcements?