India’s CARS24 Eyes $2B Valuation

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CARS24 allows users to buy or sell a used car within an hour by visiting one of the platform’s branches. It also allows end-to-end transactions and handles paperwork, such as RC transfers. Businesses in India dealing with pre-owned cars can purchase these cars online through the firm’s proprietary auction platform.

The startup with its latest round of funding is valued at over $1.8 billion. It is the first company in the used car industry to achieve unicorn status. The Gurugram-based startup has raised $450 million in one of its latest funding rounds.

In October 2020, the online used car market raised $100 million in its financing, and its valuation grew to double from $500 million. Series D funding, held in October last year, brought in $100 million.  The latest round of funding brought in $450 million. 

Besides its existing investors, the company also received funding from Unbound, a global investment and venture capital firm headquartered in London, and Moore Strategic Ventures, a New York-based investment firm.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni invested an undisclosed sum in CARS24 as part of the series D round in August 2021. Dhoni became the brand ambassador and a shareholder of the company because of the deal.

In its Series F round, CARS24 raised $258.6 million on September 10, 2021. Investors included Alpha Wave, Moore Strategic Partners, Tencent Holdings, Exor Seeds, among others. Reports estimate that the company’s valuation is between $1.72 billion and $1.75 billion following the funding round.

According to the founders, a significant portion of this funding will go towards technology investments, product innovation, and expanding into new business verticals.

CARS24 is further looking to raise $350 million in its upcoming round. This round is where SoftBank is likely to take part, which would value it around $2 billion.

A Surge in Demand  

COVID pandemic has completely shut down the Indian transit systems, as the country has gone into a nationwide lockdown. Nowadays, many people are opting to buy used cars over brand new ones. 

Considering the economic consequences following the pandemic, purchasing a new vehicle has become an option one can avoid, while used cars have grown in popularity. 

CARS24 recently ventured into the used two-wheeler category, and the company has transacted over 3,000 vehicles so far. It also got a non-banking financial company license last year, and it now provides quick and easy loans with two-hour disbursements.

With a strong technology backbone, the company offers various services, including a proprietary inspection app, an innovative auction format, and a robust algorithm that matches supply and demand. Further, the company provides a mechanism for determining used car prices.

Until 2019, CARS24 bought cars on behalf of dealers. It is one of the nation’s top used car marketplaces, and the company is now expanding internationally in Australia, the UK, and the Middle East.

A key aspect of CARS24’s success is that it currently has over 10,000 channel partners registered on its platform and plans to build that number to over 20,000 over the next two years. It has also actively launched operations in several tiers two and tier three cities.

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