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Instamojo acquires Times Internet's GetMeAShop to serve more small businesses in India

Manish Singh
Hustle and bustle of Indian roads around monument of Charminar in Hyderabad, India.Autorickshaws, crowds of people, Ambassador cars, motorbikes, street stalls, and hawkers dominate this colorful photograph of busy Indian intersection.

Instamojo, a Bangalore-based startup that helps merchants and small businesses accept digital payments and sell on the web, has acquired Gurgaon-based startup GetMeAShop.

The deal is worth $5 million and includes conglomerate Times Internet making an investment in Instamojo, Sampad Swain, co-founder and chief executive of the Bangalore-based startup, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Hundreds of millions of people have come online in India in the last decade thanks to proliferation of low-cost Android smartphones and availability to some of the world's cheapest mobile data plans. But most small businesses, especially neighborhood stores and merchants, remain offline.

A wave of startups in the country today are trying to make it easier for these merchants and businesses to come online. GetMeAShop is one such startup. It runs a platform that allows businesses to set up their website, build an online store, and make it easier for merchants or individuals to engage with -- and sell to -- their customers through social apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook.

For Instamojo, this acquisition is not surprising. The seven-year-old startup began its journey as a payments provider for small businesses. Over the years, it has launched an online store, and a lending service to serve more needs of a business.

Two years ago, the startup added logistics service to the platform through partnership with a handful of firms in the nation, allowing its merchants to have their packages picked up from their doorstep.

"This acquisition will allow us to become a full-fledged operating system for businesses," said Swain.

Instamojo has amassed 1.2 million merchants on its platform. "It took us seven years to get a million merchants on the platform. Now we are adding more than 2,000 a day. We are on track to hit 2 million merchants by the end of this year," he said.

The startup also operates an app store that allows developers to use Instamojo's system to build their own apps and make money. Instamojo currently does not charge any commission to its developers, but in the future it plans to explores monetization opportunities.

Pushkal Srivastava, founder and chief executive of GetMeAShop, said the acquisition will give the startup access to "distribution specific to the target segment we've been going after for all these years." He added, "with our full-stack SaaS offering for MSMEs with web and commerce builder [and] CRM and analytics built-in, we augment the existing offerings of Instamojo perfectly.”