Social Commerce Startup Bulbul Raises US$8.7M Led By Info Edge

1-year-old Bulbul had a turnover of a little over US$600,000 as of March 31, 2020

In a filing to the National Stock Exchange of India Limited yesterday, Info Edge (India) Ltd. declared that IE Venture Fund I, Info Edge’s investment arm that focuses on tech startups, has entered into an agreement to invest US$6.33 million in Singapore-based livestreaming and video-based shopping platform Bulbulive Shopping Network Pte Ltd.

According to the filing, Info Edge’s investment was part of a bigger funding round in which Bulbul raised $8.7 million with the remaining amount coming from existing investors. Bulbul’s existing backers include Sequoia Capital, Leo Capital and Surge among others.

The latest investment will be used to expand Bulbul’s business in India, according to the filing. Furthermore, after completion of the transaction, Info Edge, the parent company of job portal Naukri.com, will own a 17.82% stake in Bulbul.

Incorporated in July 2019, Bulbul aims to make online shopping an engaging and social experience through its video and livestream led commerce platform. The startup also features influencers to explain product features and interact with consumers to help them make purchase decisions during live broadcast.

The global pandemic has created massive opportunities for ecommerce around the world as most people went online to buy daily necessities in light of the social distancing norms and lockdown restrictions.

While livestreaming in retail originated in China, it has spread rapidly through Asia in the last two years, which has been further accelerated by the pandemic. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, there were more than 4 million livestreams in China in Q1 2020.

As customers resort to online shopping, they are still looking for the traditional social experience of shopping offline. Livestreaming is a powerful tool for businesses that aims to replicate the engaging experience online, while helping retailers to widen their reach, stay connected with highly social customers, build a loyal customer base, and monetize a different source of revenue.

The 1-year-old startup had a turnover of a little over $600,000 as of March 31, 2020, according to the filing. With India having the fastest ecommerce growth in the APAC region pre-COVID, Bulbul has immense opportunities to establish itself in the market, and aims to be the equal of ecommerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart.

Apart from Bulbul, InfoEdge’s notable investments include foodtech unicorn Zomato, insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar, ed-tech venture NoPaperForms, and B2B e-commerce platform ShopKirana.

Header image courtesy of Bulbul

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