YouTube acquires Indian startup Simsim


Google’s YouTube has acquired an Indian startup Simsim, the company said on Tuesday, July 20.

With the acquisition, YouTube aims to help viewers discover and buy products from local businesses. The terms of the acquisitions have not been disclosed.

Two-year-old Simsim had raised about $17 million prior to today’s announcement and was valued at $50.1 million in its 2020 Series B financing round.

The Gurgaon-headquartered startup helps small businesses in India transition to e-commerce by using the power of video and creators. The startup’s eponymous app acts as a platform to connect local businesses, influencers, and customers.

Gautam Anand, VP, YouTube APAC in a blog post, “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.”

It also added that there will be no immediate changes to Simsim, the app will continue operating independently while YouTube works on ways to showcase Simsim to its viewers.

Simsim was founded by Amit Bagaria, Kunal Suri and Saurabh Vashishtha in in July 2019. Bagaria and Vashishtha have worked as senior VP at Paytm, Suri is the erstwhile MD and COO of Foodpanda.

The company helps small businesses transition to e-commerce through influencer-based videos. It counts Shunwei Capital and Accel Partners among its investors and has raised around $16 million so far.

The Simsim app serves as a platform to connect local businesses, influencers and customers. Creators post video reviews about products from local businesses, and viewers can buy those products directly through the app. Videos are available in three local languages including Hindi, Tamil and Bengali, enabling retailers of all sizes to reach buyers through video in their preferred language.

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.”

“Today’s announcement builds on our ongoing investments in India, such as the India Digitization Fund. As we work with our partners to expand access to the Internet, we know online video will continue to grow as the primary way to find information, entertainment and connections in India,” added Anand in the blog post.