Auto classifieds portal CarTrade acquires vehicle inspection firm

Mumbai-based MXC Solutions India Pvt. Ltd, which operates online automobile classifieds platform CarTrade.com, has acquired vehicle inspection firm Adroit Technical Private Services Pvt. Ltd, a top executive told VCCircle.

Adroit will continue to operate as a separate entity, said CarTrade CEO Vinay Sanghi. He refused to divulge the deal value.

The acquisition comes three months after CarTrade raised Rs 370 crore ($55 million) led by existing investor Temasek Holdings, the Singapore government’s investment arm, and a US family office.

“CarTrade has a significant used-car certification business and Adroit makes for a very synergistic fit. In the journey of ownership of a car, there arises multiple needs for a consumer and this solves one piece of the puzzle,” said Sanghi.

CarTrade is also evaluating two-three companies for potential acquisitions and may strike a deal in three to six months' time. Sanghi refused to disclose the identity of the companies and the segments they operate in.

“We always look for acquisitions in areas where we think we can add value to the customer,” he said.

Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh-based Adroit was founded in 2015 by Himanshu Lohiya, Mukesh K Gupta and Puneet Tyagi. It has 300 inspectors and is likely to inspect 1 million vehicles this year, according to a company statement.

Adroit offers inspection services for vehicles, and valuation services for vehicles, real estate as well as plant and machinery. Besides, it provides project management and consulting services, its website shows.

CarTrade was founded in 2009 by Sanghi, former chief executive of Mahindra First Choice. Rajan Mehra, managing director at Nirvana Venture Advisors and former country head of eBay India, is also a founder-director at the company. CarTrade originally started off as an online marketplace for used cars. In 2015, it acquired Carwale for an undisclosed sum, after which the platform began to list and facilitate the sale of both new and used cars.

CarTrade has raised more than $230 million to date from Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Tiger Global, Canaan Partners and Epiphany Overseas Ventures, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.

Besides being an online marketplace for new and used cars, CarTrade also provides reviews, on-road prices, car comparisons and latest auto news. In the last quarter, the company forayed into auto finance and will soon launch insurance services, where users can buy insurance policies through its platform.

According to Sanghi, the platform saw 20 million unique visitors in April. Currently, the platform has 8,000 dealers and 2 lakh listed vehicles.

“The used car market is buoyant and is expected to double within the next 4-5 years. With a 15%-17% expected year-on-year growth, we should be seeing about 7 million to 8 million used cars by 2021-22. This is primarily due to the fact that the car ownership period has come down, leading to a velocity in the used car market,” said Sanghi.

CarTrade competes with CarDekho, which acquired Gaadi.com, and Droom, apart from horizontal peer-to-peer platforms such as OLX and Quikr.

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