Flush with a fresh investment of $25 million, Germany’s online car classified platform Carmudi is gearing up for some heavy duty spend in the Philippine market.
The move is part of Carmudi’s larger plan, to boost operations in the emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. Currently, it is focussing on capturing the market and business expansion in the Philippines.
According to Carmudi co-founder and global managing director Stefan Haubold, the Philippines, with its growing population, economy, and online users, definitely has great potential.
In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Haubold shared the startup’s journey, future plans,latest technology features, and the edge it has against the competitors.
Edited excepts of the interaction:
What does your company do and how did this idea come to life?
Carmudi is the easiest way to buy and sell cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles online. We strive to give our buyers the confidence that they have found the right car among thousands that are up for sale. Our sellers can create a car listing within two minutes.
We saw that a similar business model working successfully in the developed countries such as the US, the UK and Australia. So, we decided to bring this highly successful business model to the emerging markets.
Could you share a brief narration of your startup’s journey?
Carmudi became operational at the start of 2014. We experienced rapid growth throughout within the first year of operations.By the end of 2014, we had scaled up operations to 20 countries. Today, we are the leading online car classifieds in Bangladesh, Philippines, Myanmar and Mexico.
How many investors does your company have and how do you plan to use the invested funds?
Our key investors in Asia are Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG), Holtzbrinck and Tengelmann Ventures. We are very proud to have such reputable investors on board. We will use a significant amount of the funds to fuel further expansion into Asia, paying particular attention to the Philippines market.
How much is Carmudi allotting for its Asia and Latin America expansion?
We will use the majority of the investment to fuel further expansion in the Philippines. We see a huge market opportunity here. It has a population of 100 million and more than 50 per cent of Filipinos are already online. With the internet penetration rate reaching over 30 per cent, the Philippines has one of the fastest growing number of internet users in Asia.
What do you expect of the startup space in the Philippines?
As the economy grows, we expect more investors to accelerate in the startup business, especially in the e-commerce industry. Meanwhile, we are also looking forward to seeing more women at heading startup businesses.
Are there any upcoming investment deals for Carmudi?
We are evaluating all our options, going-forward. We have a good business model and investors see high potential in our ability to grow and expand. Our goal is to become the number one place to sell and buy a car in each of our markets.
How do you plan to attract additional investments?
We have just raised a substantial amount of additional funds. So for now, our main focus will be on generating a return on the investment. We can achieve this by continuing to build our success story through our markets.
How much do you spend on research and development?
A major share of our running costs are attributed to our product. We believe in creating a hassle-free car selling and buying experience – as easy as saying 1,2,3. To achieve this, we are investing heavily in ways that will make our product work more seamlessly.
Our recently launched Android and iOS Apps are allowing users to sell their cars on the move. The whole process is done on the phone, from inserting descriptions to snapping good pictures. And If you are a buyer you can select among thousands of cars through the various filters including lifestyle, which helps you to find the most suitable cars based on your specific needs and desires.
What are your future plans for business expansion?
We are still looking at a few other countries; and we can assure you that we only enter markets where we believe we can come out as the clear number one.
What do you think is Carmudi’s edge over its competitors?
We continue to challenge the incumbent player in each of our other markets. Our website relaunch means our car listing process is faster than ever before.
We guarantee ease, trust and dedication to our users. This is our edge over competitors. With just a few clicks, you can compare over 200,000 cars on a single platform with the option to filter your choices as per your budget and even by lifestyle.
Our site and mobile Apps give users the choice of surfing at home on their couch or on the move through their mobile device. By using our product, buyers can get the best value for their money and sellers can get the best price for their car. Our clear focus on cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles means we stay dedicated.
What’s the effective pitching strategy for you?
Success sells and with this in mind, we show how similar business models have worked in other geographic locations and then we point out the milestones we have already managed to achieve within just over one year.
What type of mindset do you think every startup founder should have?
Put simple, they should be bold enough to take calculated risks, have fun and enjoy what they are doing and at the same time carry ambition to really win the market.