Malaysia’s Carsome raises $170m from Taiwan’s MediaTek, others

Southeast Asian used-car marketplace Carsome Group said it has raised $170 million in a funding round from investors including Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek, cementing its position as Malaysia’s largest tech unicorn, valued at $1.3 billion.

The valuation comes as Southeast Asian startups are attracting strong interest from regional and global funds, driven by robust growth rates, as investors take bets on post-pandemic plays.

“The most important thing we are trying to tackle is the distrust that’s associated with the used-car industry,” said Carsome’s co-founder and chief executive, Eric Cheng, adding that consumers were becoming more open to buying cars online during lockdowns imposed in countries over the past year.

Six-year-old Carsome’s competitors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2-backed Carro and OLX Auto in Indonesia, part of OLX Group, which runs global trading platforms.

Cheng said Carsome, which also operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, has been ramping up its retail centres and expanding its offerings, which include a five-day refund policy and a one-year warranty.

Carsome is looking to almost treble its revenue to nearly $1 billion this year from last year and expects to turn profitable on an operating level in 2022, its chief financial officer, Juliet Zhu, told Reuters.

It had raised a total of more than $100 million in its previous funding rounds.

Zhu said Carsome is considering listing in the United States within the next 12 months and is in talks with sponsors of blank check companies.

“We have always been envisaging ourselves to be listing on U.S. exchanges,” Cheng said, citing comparable valuations with U.S.-listed car marketplaces available for investors.

Backed by the likes of Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners and an arm of Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, Carsome will use the funds to extend its spate of acquisitions.

This year, it acquired a stake in a Jakarta-based car and motorcycle auction service and agreed a deal with Australia-listed iCar Asia, which offers listing sites in Southeast Asia.

Carsome said one of the largest sovereign wealth funds from the region joined the latest funding, but it declined to identify the fund. Carsome also secured new credit facilities of $30 million.

Rothschild & Co is the financial adviser on the fundraising.

Reuters

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.