Editor's Picks

2 Founders Put In RM200k To Launch A Startup, This First Funding Proved Their Instincts Right

So you’d like to buy a car? Would you like to save money while doing so? If you answered yes to both questions, then carsome.my is the platform that’s been tailor made for you.

Carsome.my is a one-stop online portal where you can discover, purchase or even sell cars. It provides you with a hassle-free experience through which you can compare, research and select the best price that’s offered to you by its dealers.

With Carsome, you can compare prices from up to five different models and you can also compare the specifications of each model along with the price. In essence, the platform helps you cut down the time you spend scouring the Internet looking for a good deal.

In fact you could potentially save an average of RM3000 on the site.

Image Credit: Carsome.my
Image Credit: Carsome.my

Dealing The Dealers A Better Hand

Eric Cheng and Teoh Jiun Ee (JT) started Carsome.my in February 2015 and they’ve consistently gained traction and has facilitated more than RM6 million worth of sales.

While Carsome definitely benefits buyers when they’re looking to make a purchase, it also offers a great deal of benefits to the dealers as well.

Firstly as a dealer, you don’t have to pay for listing. Carsome operates on a transaction-based model that means you would only get charged when and if you make a sale.

That means that you don’t have to waste money on marketing but you can focus your financial efforts where they really matter. Carsome does most of the hard work by making the buyers aware of your offer.

Given the current model, Carsome has managed to win over 100 dealerships in Klang Valley, Johor and Penang along with renowned car brands such as Perodua, Honda and VW. Carsome will provide these brands with key insights on consumer trends that will in turn help them sell more cars, which will definitely give them an edge over other similar car websites.

Selling The Dream

Carsome.my recently managed to raise USD350,000 in its first round of funding from a company based in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups and Malaysia’s Idea River Run (IRR). The funds will be used to further Carsome’s expansion plans to two other countries in the APAC region.

Eric Cheng the CEO added, “Carsome currently is operating in Malaysia only but we are expanding to two countries in Q4.”

Image Credit: carsome.my
Image Credit: carsome.my

Before getting funded, the founders of Carsome were funding their startup with their own funds. They initially put close to RM200,000 into the startup. During the startup’s sacrificial period of time, the founders had to go the extra mile to ensure that their costs were kept low. Eric said, “We had to save on every penny in our daily life, all the way down to paying our staffs’ salary with our own savings.”

The founders of Carsome didn’t just have to deal with the financial aspects of running a growing business but they also had to make sure that they kept their troops motivated and on fire at all times.

Speaking highly of his team, Eric said, “We just had to sell them the dream. The dream of being able to create something that didn’t exist in the industry back then. I think they liked the idea of achieving a feat that no one else was doing. They are always on fire and I can safely say that they are committed 100% in building Carsome. I have a great team.”

He also added, “In Carsome, they learnt to become an entrepreneur.”

Going Global

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This recent funding will therefore definitely lift some burden off them and give them the much-needed boost to further grow their business.

In regards to the startups expansion, Eric Cheng said, “We are getting partnerships setup in multiple cities and we will be ready to announce the news in 8 weeks’ time.” Inspired by Malaysian entrepreneurs like Joel Neoh (KFIT) and Anthony Tan (GrabTaxi), he also added, “With focused execution, the Carsome team can replicate and extend their success to other markets in the region. We are ready to serve car buyers where we are needed.”

Khailee Ng, the Managing Partner of 500 Startups believes that the Carsome team is the first startup to introduce a globally successful business model like Beepi in USA, Carwow in UK and Truecar in USA in the South East Asian market.

How Important Is It?

Eric Cheng believes that the barrier to “go global” is much lower than it was before—a sentiment that I agree with. But just because you can, does that mean you have to? If yes, how?

These are questions that every startup should answer if they’d like to survive in the world of smartphones, globalisation and the Internet. If you’re a startup that wants to only operate within the confines of the national borders and not embark on a path of achieving the cliché of “changing the world”—then you really don’t have to be concerned with the likes of Carsome.

Image Credit: Beyondplm
Image Credit: Beyondplm

But if you do want to stick to the cliché—sticking to the cliché is the right thing to do by the way—then you need to take Eric’s advice, “Think globally from the start.”

And in the spirit of doing so, he advises startups to understand and validate their products in other markets as that contributes directly to get it right from the start.

If you find out that you are lucky (or better yet, wise) enough to tap into a market where you’re the sole provider, then capitalise on that opportunity, as that would be your most important business and competitive advantage—a no brainer, really.

P.S.: In line with the spirit of “Going Global”, Vulcan Post will be hosting its second community event called The Tipping Point #2, where speakers from a few startups will be sharing about expanding past Malaysian borders. It will be held on the 8th of September, you can get more info here

 

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