CarDekho drives into unicorn club after $250 mn fundraise

By Tarush Bhalla
CarDekho co-founders Anurag Jain (left) and Amit Jain.

BENGALURU : Girnar Software Pvt. Ltd, which runs CarDekho, an online portal for new and used cars, has raised $250 million as a part of its latest Series E fundraising at a valuation of about $1.2 billion, making it the newest entrant to India’s growing list of unicorns, two people aware of the matter said on Tuesday.

The funding round was led by private investment firm LeapFrog Investments, with participation from South Korea’s Mirae Asset Group and existing investors, the people said, requesting anonymity.

They did not disclose the existing investors who took part in the round.

CarDekho’s existing investors include Sequoia Capital India, Hillhouse Capital and CapitalG, the investment arm of Google parent Alphabet.

CarDekho did not respond to queries until press time.

The fundraising has made CarDekho the 33rd Indian startup to become a unicorn and the second online car-retailing platform to achieve a $1 billion valuation this year. A unicorn is a privately held startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion.

The current round has lifted CarDekho’s valuation by 70% from nearly $700 million it was valued at in its previous funding round.

CarDekho had raised $70 million as a part of its Series D round in December 2019, led by Chinese investor Ping An Global Voyager Fund.

CarDekho’s fundraising comes at a time when investor interest in online car buying websites has surged. Last month, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and DST Global led a funding round worth $450 million in CarDekho’s rival and used car platform, Cars24.

The investment nearly doubled Cars24’s valuation from $1 billion last November to almost $1.84 billion.

In July, Droom Technology said it had raised $200 million in a pre-IPO funding round at a valuation of $1.2 billion, catapulting the online automobile marketplace into unicorn status.

Droom plans to make a public listing next year, Mint reported earlier.

This year, Spinny, a six-year-old used car retailing platform, raised $108 million in a Series D round led by New York-based Tiger Global Management. The round valued Spinny at about $800 million.

With the current fundraising, CarDekho is looking to expand overseas to Southeast Asia even as it looks to open larger format stores to grow its presence in metro and non-metro cities across India, one of the two people cited above said.

In February, Mint reported that CarDekho postponed plans to open 250 stores and is instead planning to start large format showrooms operated by the company.

“Bigger stores will give us economies of scale and more leverage on manpower efficiency. We will go with the top three-four cities and try different formats," Amit Jain, co-founder and chief executive of CarDekho, said at the time.

Competition in the online car-retailing space has heated up over the past months. Cab aggregator and electric vehicle manufacturer Ola also entered the used car online retailing space with the Ola Cars platform announced earlier this month.


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