CarDekho drives into unicorn club with $200-mn Series E cheque

 CarDekho drives into unicorn club with $200-mn Series E cheque

Girnar Software Pvt. Ltd, the company that owns and operates CarDekho, has announced a $250 million round of funding that includes a $200-million Series E equity cheque and $50 million in debt.

The pre-IPO round drove the startup into the unicorn club of young tech ventures with a tag of $1 billion or more.

With the latest fundraising, CarDekho commands a valuation of $1.2 billion and becomes the first unicorn based in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The funding round was led by LeapFrog Investments, a global impact investor focused on financial services and healthcare access.

“CarDekho is an outstanding platform for large-scale social impact, already making vehicles more accessible, affordable and trustworthy for over three million emerging consumers,” said Stewart Langdon, partner and co-head of South Asian investments at LeapFrog.

Other new investors which participated included US-based Canyon Partners, Mirae Asset and Harbor Spring Capital.

Existing CarDekho investors Sequoia Capital India and Sunley House invested, too. Sequoia was one of the early investors in CarDekho, having led the Series A round in 2013 and Series C round in 2018.

CarDekho joins rival Droom in the unicorn club. Droom raised $200 million in a pre-IPO round in July at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Two months ago, another peer CarTrade went public. At the IPO price, it would have commanded a valuation of around $1 billion but the stock has slipped after listing. CarTrade currently has a market capitalisation of $826 million.

CarDekho will use the money to accelerate growth in the used-car transactions segment, financial services and insurance businesses, co-founder and CEO Amit Jain said. It will also build its product and technology functions, increase brand awareness, and expand into new markets.

CarDekho buys cars from customers in more than 100 markets and has a catalogue of more than 3,000 certified pre-owned cars for online purchase. The company will expand its used-car retail transactions business geographically and is aiming to increase its catalogue to 10,000 cars in the near future.

The company plans to expand across India with retail hubs that will focus on both used car buying and certified pre-owned car retail transactions with customers. CarDekho team is currently present in India, Indonesia and Philippines and aims to use the funds to expand internationally. The company’s auto and non-auto products are currently used in more than 30 countries globally.

CarDekho says it works directly with almost all automobile manufacturers in India, amounting for up to 30% of annual sales for its strategic partners. It also works with 3,500 new auto dealers and 4,000 used-car dealers, traders and entrepreneurs.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest