Acquisitions, green consumerism catapult Carousell to within striking distance of unicorn club

The global “circular economy” — reuse, repair, and resale of goods — is a $4.5 trillion business opportunity, estimates the World Resources Institute. The sheer potential of this sector is what has catapulted the homegrown Singapore startup Carousell to within striking distance of the unicorn club.

In our latest report, Company Report: Carousell, we delve into the company and also the market that it is in. The global resale market is expected to clock 39% CAGR between 2019 and 2024.

Resale will overtake traditional thrift and donation by 2024

Carousell was founded by three university students at the National University of Singapore in 2012 as a listings marketplace for pre-loved items. It clocked a mere $7,476 in annual revenues in 2016.

After a series of fundraisings, starting 2013, Carousell went on an acquisition spree across Southeast Asia, bringing into its fold startups such as Caarly, and OLX’s Phillippines business. The result has been a leap in annual revenue to $15.7 million in 2019.

The report also discusses how the company’s valuation ballooned to $900m. It may achieve unicorn status soon, joining other Singapore firms such as SEA Group, Grab, Lazada, Razer, and Trax in the billion-dollar club.

Meanwhile, Carousell has evolved beyond pre-loved items to a listings platform for property, automobiles, and preowned luxury goods across eight countries.

It prides itself on being “sticky”, whereby users rely on it regularly for their different needs. Its strategic acquisitions reflect how, as a senior Carousell executive said in an interview, users will “grow with us from their student days and keep using us even as adults with changing needs.”

And while there are overall business risks — the global property and automobile markets may soften due to geopolitical turmoil, for instance, or fraud and scams on the platform may rise — the underlying trend of green consumerism is here to stay. And with that, the boom in pre-loved items and greater C2C transactions via listing portals.


The report is available exclusively to DealStreetAsia – Research & Analytics subscribers. Highlights include

  • Carousell’s completed fundraising rounds 
  • The company’s shareholders
  • The company’s acquisitions
  • Competition and other risks faced by Carouse
  • The growth prospects of the resale, property, and automotive listings markets

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Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.