Carsome Raises US$50m Series C via equity and debt investments

  • 40,000 cars transacted annually on Carsome, 1% of SEA used car market
  • Combination of equity and debt investments from new & existing investors

Eric Cheng (centre), Carsome CEO and cofounder with some senior team executives.

Carsome, Southeast Asia’s leading used car trading platform, today announced it had completed its U$50 million Series C round comprising of a combination of equity and debt investments from new & existing investors.

The current financing round welcomed new investors including MUFG Innovation Partners (MUIP), corporate venture capital arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc (MUFG), one of the world’s leading financial groups, as well as Daiwa PI Partners, the private equity arm of Daiwa Securities Group, one of Japan's largest securities groups, Endeavor Catalyst and  Ondine Capital. Carsome’s Series C fundraising also saw participation from existing investors, including Gobi Partners and Convergence Ventures, and other undisclosed new investors.

In the fours years since its launch, Carsome has established itself as Southeast Asia's leading used car trading platform with a strong market presence in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Over 40,000 cars are transacted by it annually totalling more than US$300 million in transaction value, excluding all loan and financing deployment.

Eric Cheng, cofounder and CEO of Carsome, said: “With over 4 million used car transactions annually in Southeast Asia, Carsome transacts 1 percent of annual second-hand car sales in the region. We have helped over 6,000 dealers in growing their businesses and have become their closest working partners. We have also served car owners with a whole new experience in car trading - transparent, convenient and the fastest of its kind.”

This whole new experience in car trading leads Eric to explain that Carsome aspires to be the Visa/Master network of auto transactions, while building a collaborative ecosystem of partners to provide the best experience to consumers in Southeast Asia.

Expressing his delight in the shared vision between his Series C investors and Carsome to revolutionise Southeast Asia’s used car industry, “by establishing and upholding a new standard of quality assurance and through the better use of transactional data,” Eric explains that funding will be used to help consolidate Carsome's market leadership in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, with expansion into more cities in Southeast Asia

“MUIP is proud to participate in this round of financing,” said Nobutake Suzuki, President and CEO of MUIP. He explains that the technology-first approach to solving the used car industry’s biggest pain points such as long wait times for sales and lack of transparency in the sales process for budget-conscious SMEs and consumers has compelling advantages over existing competitors. “We truly believe Carsome is well-positioned to exhibit strong market leadership by delivering best-in-class experience to consumers and dealers throughout the used car supply chain. MUIP will work with its partner banks, Danamon and Krungsri, in collaboration with Carsome to support Carsome’s growth strategy as they continue to bring innovative solutions to the market and execute its long-term vision.”

Funding will also be used to accelerate financing product offerings for dealers and consumers with multi-country roll-outs over the next 12 months. Carsome has built a successful track record with loan portfolios over the past year and is ready to scale up the offering by working with strategic partners, including regional banks and non-banking financial institutions.

Carsome prides itself on being a one-stop solution for car sellers and dealers, from inspection to ownership transfer, promising a hassle-free process with instant payment and seamless paperwork.

Customers can schedule a free car valuation at any of their highly efficient inspection centres across the region. Carsome’s inspectors will appraise the car and provide an offer on the spot with the help of the proprietary inspector toolsets and pricing model. The car is then put up for bidding to all used car dealers in Carsome’s network for auction.

When a customer accepts an offer, the paperwork will be managed by Carsome, and payment is made to the customer via an online bank transfer instantly as part of the ownership transfer. To date, Carsome has a coverage of more than 6,000 dealers across over 50 cities in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore on its platform and over 12,000 monthly inspections at its inspection centres across Southeast Asia.

Carsome has over 700 employees across its Southeast Asia offices. Operationally, Carsome remains highly capital efficient. It is operationally profitable in Malaysia and targets profitability in the remaining markets by end-2020.

As part of the strategic investment, Carsome will collaborate with MUFG and its subsidiaries in Southeast Asia to support Carsome’s vision of driving the automotive industry forward, by providing integrated financing access for dealers and consumers via Carsome’s platform.

MUFG owns both PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, Tbk. (Danamon), which is one of the largest banks and the leading used automotive financing company in Indonesia, and The Bank of Ayudhya Public Company Limited (Krungsri), Thailand’s fifth-largest bank in terms of loans and deposits. Through this collaboration, MUFG and its subsidiaries will have the ability to provide business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) financing on Carsome’s platform by leveraging Carsome’s transactional data, further expanding Carsome’s positioning as the leading used car ecosystem in the region.

Echoing Suzuki’s sentiments, Thomas Tsao, Chairman and Founding Father at Gobi Partners, added: “Carsome is building locally-relevant solutions for the new generation of car owners and dealers. In less than five years, they have built a category-defining business and launched a world-class platform that has been adopted by over 6,000 used car dealers and transacted more than US$300 million in used car sales a year. We’re pleased to continue supporting Carsome on their mission to shape the future of car ownership in Asia.”

President of Daiwa PI Partners, Hideki Araki, commented: “Over the past few years, we’ve admired the innovation and speed that Eric and his team have brought to the marketplaces that they serve. The combination of our investment with their bespoke technology, digital expertise and dealer relationships will supercharge Carsome’s ability to compete and win in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.”

In March 2018, the company raised US$19 million in Series B funding led by Burda Principal Investments, alongside Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Indogen Capital, InnoVen Capital and Lumia Capital. It then followed with a U$8 million extension round in August 2018, led by the family office of Joe Hirao, Founder of Tokyo-headquartered ZIGExN Co Ltd. Carsome also recently announced key strategic senior hires with Danny Chin, the former CMO of redONE, coming on board as CMO, and Chet Sin, FWD Insurance’s former Head of IT and Digital Commerce, joining as CTO.

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