SG’s online classifieds marketplace Carousell enters unicorn club after $100m funding

(from left to right) Carousell’s co-founders: Siu Rui Quek, Marcus Tan and Lucas Ngoo

Singapore-based online classifieds marketplace operator Carousell has joined Southeast Asia’s unicorn club after raising $100 million in its latest funding round at a valuation of $1.1 billion.

The investment came from STIC Investments, a South Korea-based private equity investor that invests across Asia, Carousell announced.

The announcement comes within hours after a $150-million funding catapulted another Southeast Asian startup, Indonesian digital payment platform Xendit, to unicorn status.

Carousell started off in 2012 as a marketplace to buy and sell used items, mainly lifestyle products. Initially, the bulk of its transactions were from Singapore, but the company branched out to Malaysia and Taiwan in end-2014. In 2017, the company forayed into property and automotive listings.

The group, founded by Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo, and Marcus Tan, claims to serve a community of tens of millions of users across eight markets in Greater Southeast Asia under the brands Carousell, Mudah.my, Cho Tot and OneKyat.

As per the announcement, the fresh funding will be used to fuel the group’s goal of redefining commerce for secondhand goods and automobiles in an “increasingly digitally-savvy, affluent, and sustainability-conscious region”.

‘We believe that the accelerated adoption of digital experiences is an opportunity for us to double down on our recommerce efforts with a focus on convenience and trust, to unlock step-change growth in our community,” said Quek Siu Rui, co-founder and CEO of Carousell.

Carousell last raised $80 million in venture funding in September 2020 from Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund and NH Investment & Securities. the said round valued the Singapore company at $900 million.

As part of the latest funding round, STIC Investments managing director Jason Cho will join the Carousell board of directors. Carousell’s other backers include Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Sequoia India, Naspers, and Naver.

“We are highly confident that Carousell will be at the centre of the secondhand economy in this region at a time when an increasing number of socio-economic and environmentally conscious consumers are shifting towards a circular economy,” Cho said.

The secondhand luxury market, where Carousell operates, has exploded in recent years. According to the 2019 BCG-Altagamma True-Luxury Global Consumer Insight study, the market niche is expected to grow from an estimated $25 billion in revenues in 2018 to around $36 billion in 2021.

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.

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.