Catching Up

Carsome Bags US$19 Mil In Another Funding Round. Their Secret? Data.

  • Used car platform Carsome have just announced a successful round of Series B funding, in which they acquired US$19 million in funding from lead investors Burda Principal Investments along with other existing investors.
  • Carsome will use the new funds to expand their existing operations in Indonesia and Thailand.
  • Other upcoming expansion plans include the introduction of financing and warranty products to dealers and used car buyers.
  • Founder Eric Cheng cited a strong focus on data and quantifiable performance as the factors behind Carsome’s continued success.

In a statement released today, online used car platform Carsome have announced their success in acquiring US$19million through a round of Series B funding led by Burda Principal Investments, with existing partners Gobi Partners, InnoVen Capital, and Lumia Capital following suit.

Initially beginning as a car price comparison website in 2015, Carsome has now transformed themselves into a fast-growing used car platform with a strong presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Their service allows individuals to sell their vehicles directly to dealers in a fair and a transparent manner, and they facilitate the entire process from inspection, to valuation, to bidding and payment, all the way to logistical needs—allowing clients to sell their cars within the time span of a day with no charges and minimal effort.

“We feel Southeast Asia’s burgeoning automotive sector is in the early stages of a digital transformation and believe there is a tremendous opportunity for Carsome to bridge the offline-to-online space,” said Albert Shyy, Principal of Burda Principal Investments.

“We are thrilled to join them as they build the leading used car platform in the region.”

Growth Through Strengthening

Carsome plans to use this funding to scale their existing operations in Indonesia and Thailand—the region’s largest automotive markets with a combined 3.6 million used car deals annually.

“Indonesia and Thailand are the two largest automotive markets in the region,” said Carsome founder and CEO Eric Cheng. “We are committed to extending our presence there and to accelerate growth through this funding round.”

Eric also explained that the new funds would also go towards making Carsome the ‘new default way’ of selling used cars within the region.

“Currently, Southeast Asia’s used car industry—estimated to be valued at over US$30 billion yearly—is still highly fragmented, inefficient and lacks transparency,” Eric said.

“Carsome takes on these problems by providing a seamless and transparent online used car selling process; one that provides users an easier way to sell their cars to dealers nationwide in a fast, fair and free manner.”

Since January 2017, Carsome has seen its monthly total transaction value increase more than fourfold, and also witnessed the car sales facilitated through its platform (more than 70% of which are inter-city transactions) more than quadruple in volume.

They have also grown the size of their staff to over 150 employees in all four countries to cater to the healthy expansion of their business.

“Gobi is backing Carsome once more because the management team has consistently beat expectations,” said Thomas Tsao, one of the founding members of Gobi Partners.

“With their proven track record, Carsome is in an enviable position to capture the unprecedented growth in ASEAN’s used car market.”

“This round of funding will put Carsome in the driver’s seat for Southeast Asia.”

New Things To Sell

As part of the expansion plans, Carsome aims to grow its market share in Southeast Asia by using more localised content to strengthen brand awareness and improve the selling experience on its platform.

They also aim to introduce new product verticals to make the entire selling process easier for both the dealer and the seller.

“Within the automotive ecosystem, there are many other areas that are essential in the buying and selling process,” said Eric.

“We are looking to introduce financing and warranty solutions to empower dealers in doing business, and further enhance the selling process for car sellers on our platform.”

Eric explained that upcoming financing products would be geared first towards dealers with the intention of helping them out with their cash flow and financial turnarounds. Eventually, Carsome hopes to extend financing options to used-car buyers.

And according to Eric, Carsome’s upcoming warranty services will be designed based on Carsome’s strict inspection standards with the aim of helping those in the market for a used car.

“Ninety percent of used cars now don’t carry warranties, and that lowers the consumer confidence in the quality of used cars,” he explained. “These programs will help instil confidence among buyers and help revitalise the image of used car dealerships.”

It’s All About What You Can See

Finally, Eric also shared some of the practices that have enabled Carsome to expand so successfully.

“We have successfully built a fast and sustainable culture with our people across the countries we operate in,” he said. “We are also very analytical and data driven. We look at the risks and pay attention to the details every step we take.”

“Our whole business is built upon a history of analytical discipline and execution.”

Finally, he also warned against some of the potential dangers that founders could stumble into when building up a business, and again highlighted the importance of building based on measurable data.

“I think one of the biggest pitfalls for founders is not asking if you are able to quantify the strategy or plan with results,” he said. “I’ve seen many founders build a business based on what they believe, but lack consistent monitoring of data and performance.”

“In my opinion, being able to measure the progress and results of your strategic plan is the hallmark of every successful company.”

  • To know more about Carsome, head on over to their website.

Feature Image Credit: Carsome

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