YouTube acquires homegrown social commerce platform Simsim

YouTube today announced the acquisition of Simsim, a social commerce startup, for an undisclosed sum. The Google-owned company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Delhi-based startup and expects to complete the transaction in the coming weeks, the company said in a statement.

Speaking on the development, Gautam Anand, VP, YouTube APAC said “By bringing Simsim and YouTube together, our goal is to help small businesses and retailers in India reach new customers in even more powerful ways. There will be no immediate changes to Simsim, the app will continue operating independently while we work on ways to showcase Simsim offers to YouTube viewers.” 

“With over 2500 YouTube creators with over one million subscribers, and the success of YouTube Shorts, which we launched in India first, we’re committed to bringing the best of YouTube to India and growing the creator community by making it even easier for the new generation of mobile-first creators to get started,” he added.

Simsim, which is two years old, had raised approximately $17 million prior to today’s announcement and was valued at $50.1 million in its 2020 Series B financing round.

Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri, and Saurabh Vashishtha founded the company to help retailers of all sizes reach buyers through video in three local languages: Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali. Bagaria and Vashishtha were both Senior VPs at Paytm, and Suri was previously the MD and COO of Foodpanda.

“We started Simsim with the mission of helping users across India shop online with ease, enabled through small sellers and brands showcasing and selling their products using the power of content by trusted influencers. Being a part of the YouTube and Google ecosystem furthers Simsim in its mission,” Simsim cofounders Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri and Saurabh Vashishtha said in a joint statement.

“We cannot think of a better ecosystem in which to build Simsim, in terms of technology, reach, creator networks and culture. We can’t wait to be part of YouTube and are excited to build Simsim within the most admired tech company in the world.”

The Gurgaon-based startup assists small businesses in India is transitioning to e-commerce by leveraging the power of video and creators. The eponymous app of the startup serves as a platform for connecting local businesses, influencers, and customers.

Simsim had also launched its own customized content product Rubaru just before the March 2020 lockdown, which allows users to send video messages and tips recorded by celebrities and influencers to their loved ones.

Simsim competes directly with BulBul and EkAnek in the video commerce space. EkAnek last raised $5 million in a funding round led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) in September 2020, while Info Edge led a $8.7 million Series A round in BulBul in July.

Youtube has a larger user base in India, with 255 million viewers who watch videos on a regular basis, and the platform has made no secret of its interest in language users, who make up an ever-increasing share.

Google’s announcement on Tuesday is the company’s latest push in India, where it is committed to investing $10 billion over the next two years. The internet behemoth has also invested in two Indian startups, Glance and DailyHunt, which both operate short-video apps.

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