Cars24 is India’s latest unicorn with $200 million funding round led by DST Global

Cars24 said its annual transactions exceeded 2,00,000 units along with a 4X jump in website engagement. (Image: Bloomberg)

Online platform to sell second-hand cars CARS24 has raised a $200 million Series E funding round led by DST Global with participation from existing investors including Exor Seeds, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Unbound. The company is the latest addition to the growing list of unicorns in India with its valuation crossing the hallowed $1-billion mark in the current round. The investment will be deployed towards technology and product innovation apart from scaling new business verticals, the company said on Monday. It claimed surpassing the pre-Covid business level with annual transactions exceeding 2,00,000 units along with a 4X jump in website engagement.

“With this investment, we will continue to innovate our product and bolster our capabilities to provide the best experience for all parties – with sellers getting the best value for their car, and buyers getting to choose from a wide assortment of automobiles.” Vikram Chopra, Co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. The company had entered into the used two-wheelers segment in May this year and has so far “already transacted over 3,000 two-wheelers,” the company added. CARS24 had also acquired an NBFC license in 2019 to provide access to credit to customers.

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Launched in 2015 and operating in more than 130 cities, the company has been “deeply leveraging data and technology at each step, resulting in world-class operational efficiency and market leadership in the segment,” said Rahul Mehta, Managing Partner, DST Global. Cars24 competes with Carwale, CarTrade, Droom, CarDekho, Spinny, and more along with horizontal players such as Quikr and Olx India.

The used car market in India worth $24.24 billion in 2019 is likely to grow at a CAGR of 15.12 per cent during 2020-2025, according to data from market research firm Mordor Intelligence. The pre-owned car or used car market crossed the 4 million units mark in FY 2018 which states that the segment is 1.3x of the new car market. The GST revision on used cars from 28 per cent to 12-18 per cent earlier this year and exemption of the cess applicable on sale of the used vehicles in 2018 have been among the factors driving the segment.

Global unicorn tally is led by the US with 233 unicorns followed by China with 227 unicorns and India with 21 unicorns, according to the Hurun India Unicorn Index 2020 released in August this year. Paytm with $16 billion valuation followed by Byju’s with $12 billion, OYO’s $8 billion, Ola’s $6 billion, etc., are the leading unicorns in India, as per the index. SaaS startup InMobi was the first company to turn unicorn back in 2011.

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