Singapore headquartered automotive marketplace Carro has announced that it recently closed a US$360 million funding round led by Japan’s Softbank Ventures, bringing its latest valuation to well over a billion dollars according to Carro founder and CEO Aaron Tan, making Carro Singapore’s latest unicorn. Since its inception in 2015, Carro has raised over US$400 million in equity and US$200 million in debt financing. Carro utilises a proprietary pricing algorithm to seamlessly match buyers and sellers of second hand automobiles, and has recently expanded its suite of full-stack service offerings to include in-house financing solutions and even a car subscription service.
Carro is currently Southeast Asia’s largest automotive marketplace for pre-owned cars, and has been growing its regional presence, having expanded into Thailand and Indonesia in 2017. Carro is the latest Singaporean startup to achieve unicorn status, joining the likes of ride-sharing company Grab group, which is aiming to go public via a US$40 billion SPAC merger - currently the largest in history.
This certainly highlights renewed faith and institutional appetite for thematic investments across sectors like eCommerce marketplaces that leverage technology and innovation to drive value creation for end users. Amidst tepid economic recovery and the unprecedented cyclical rotation out of high-growth tech stocks (which are often valued on the basis of their potential to generate outsized future revenue) and into conventional ‘value’ stocks witnessed earlier in the year, we believe that the recent successes of Southeast Asian startups like Carro and Grab sends a strong message of encouragement and resilience for burgeoning tech companies in the region.
eCommerce has revolutionised the state of retail and is likely to persist as global workflows and supply chains are increasingly facilitated via digital mediums. The growing popularity of eCommerce marketplaces spanning enterprise B2B applications (Moglix, Zeemart) and B2C selling (Shopee, Qoo10) along with rapid and widespread end user adoption across Southeast Asia certainly backs up this fact. We are excited to follow further developments in this space in the coming years, and especially how startups will be able to develop niche eCommerce platforms or add further value to incumbents through meaningful tech-enabled interventions and collaborations.