YouTube has bought Indian social commerce firm Simsim in a deal rumoured to be worth over $70m (£50.9m).
The startup, which is based in the Gurgaon region, was valued at $50.1m (£36.4m) in a 2020 series B funding round.
Founded two years ago, Simsim helps small businesses adapt to digital commerce by introducing local firms to video and content creators.
For Google-owned YouTube, which currently has 450 million monthly active users in India, taking over Simsim will allow the video sharing platform to help the country’s smaller companies expand their reach.
Simsim will continue to operate as a separate entity.
Gautam Anand, VP, YouTube APAC, said: “For over 15 years, small businesses have used YouTube to expand their presence online — and many of them use YouTube to reach customers outside of their local community, from Interior Designers to Silk Sarees sellers. 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.
In a joint statement, simsim cofounders, Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri and Saurabh Vashishtha said, “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. 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 deal is Google’s latest move in India, the company having promised to invest USD $10bn (£7.3bn) in the country over the next few years.
“Fast track to influencer content in a fragmented market”
“This gives YouTube a fast track for both influencer content and retailer relationships”, says Danny Meadows-Klue, Chief Executive of the Digital Strategy Consulting group. “By consolidating the market, it gives stores a more holistic solution – and it makes it easier for international brands to manage their relationships in the massive and fragmented Indian market”.
In terms of what’s coming up, Meadows-Klue sees innovation accelerating. “The tools for shopper marketing and media planning are getting more sophisticated and ever-more professional. Expect more life-streaming commerce, more social commerce, more integration with the retailer’s platforms, and with Google / YouTube running the show you can also expect stronger analytics and as well as the benefits of integration into the broader Google advertising platform. And some of the innovations and insights on Simsim will help fuel YouTube’s growth.”