Singapore classifieds marketplace app Carousell just snagged the “unicorn” status as its valuation reached US$1.1 billion after its latest funding round.
It raised US$100 million in a round led by South Korean private equity firm STIC, which gave it a step up from its previous US$900 million valuation made during the fund raise last year.
The latest funds will be used to deepen Carousell’s investments across more categories of pre-owned goods and markets, and also to explore acquisitions to scale up the business.
“We believe that the accelerated adoption of digital experiences is an opportunity for us to double down on our recommerce efforts with a focus on convenience and trust, to unlock step-change growth in our community,” said Quek Siu Rui, co-founder and CEO of Carousell.
“STIC’s investment is a validation of our mission and strategic direction. We’ll deepen our investments in recommerce across more categories and markets, and will continue to seek opportunistic acquisitions in scaling up,” Quek said.
Carousell joins other Southeast Asian startups, including Carro and Carsome, to break into the swanky unicorn club. The interest in startups in the region has grown exponentially, as investors look to cash in on the region’s growth potential.
Sights on the region
According to Quek, Carousell has grown way beyond categories like fashion, electronics and general goods.
“As the region becomes more affluent, people want to enjoy the finer things in life. We are looking at authentication capabilities for higher-value products, including luxury goods and cars. Our goal is to make transacting in a second-hand marketplace as convenient and trusted as any e-commerce platform so that second-hand can truly be the first choice,” he said.
Launched in 2012, Carousell’s investors include Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India. It operates in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Carousell is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile person-to-person marketplaces. It has recorded over 8 million listings on the app so far, with millions of items successfully transacted.
Millennials account for 70 per cent of Carousell’s visitors, and one-third of its revenue is from the sales of second-hand vehicles.
Next step, SPAC?
The funding round is set to pave the way for a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) listing in the US, which the company is said to be exploring on.
The startup is working with an adviser on the potential SPAC deal that could value the company at as much as US$1.5 billion.
A listing through a SPAC could take place as soon as the end of this year.
Featured Image Credit: Carousell
VP Label puts together all the best local products for you to discover in one place. Join us in supporting homegrown Singaporean brands: