After Meesho, Facebook To Step Up Startup Investments In India, Says MD Ajit Mohan
Facebook Inc. is gearing up to make substantial investments in tech startups in India, the social media firm’s vice president in the country said Friday.
“We now have shown willingness to make direct investments in tech startups in India. We are willing to spend our time, and energy to tap the massive depth of engineering talent in the country," Ajit Mohan, who is also Facebook India’s managing director, said in Thiruvananthapuram.
Mohan was delivering the keynote for the second edition of Huddle Kerala 2019, a congregation on startup ecosystems. The two-day event is being organised by the Kerala Startup Mission, in association with Internet and Mobile Association of India.
“A couple of months ago, we announced the first minority investment that Facebook has done anywhere in the world in a company called Meesho,” the Facebook India VP said. “What Meesho does is it relies on the existing behaviour of communities in India and leverages on women entrepreneurs essentially pitching products to their friends and families."
In June, Facebook picked up a minority stake in Meesho but didn’t disclose financial details of the transaction. The investment was part of a $125 million funding round led by South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. and that saw participation of Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Arun Sarin, former chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc.
Citing government data, Mohan said women's representation in the technology sector stood between 30 percent and 35 percent. A lot of our energy must go to break gender imbalance. We have to think about what are the barriers that limit women from coming online, he said adding that the social media company's focus was on skill-building, and introduction of platforms to startups.