Bengaluru: Girnar Software Pvt. Ltd. which operates online portal for new and used cars, CarDekho, has raised $250 million as a part of its latest Series E fundraise at a valuation of approximately $1.2 billion, making it the latest entrant in India’s rapidly-growing coveted list of unicorns, two individuals aware of the discussion confirmed to Mint.
The round is led by private investment firm LeapFrog Investments, with South Korea’s Mirae Asset Group and existing investors participating in it, both the individuals confirmed on condition of anonymity. Other investors in CarDekho include Sequoia Capital India, Hillhouse Capital and CapitalG, the investment arm of Google-parent Alphabet Inc.
This makes CarDekho the 33rd startup to become a unicorn and second online car retailing platform to achieve a valuation of over $1 billion, this year. A unicorn is a startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion.
The current round has given a 70% hike to CarDekho’s valuation which was last valued at almost $700 million.
CarDekho had raised $70 million as a part of its Series D round, in December 2019 led by Chinese investor Ping An Global Voyager Fund.
CarDekho’s fundraise comes at a time when investor interest in online car buying portals has significantly increased. Just last month, Softbank Vision Fund 2 and DST Global had led a financing worth $450 million in CarDekho’s rival and used car platform, Cars24. The investment nearly doubled Cars24’s valuation from $1 billion in November last year to almost $1.84 billion.
In July, Droom Technology said it had raised $200 million in a pre-IPO funding round at a valuation of $1.2 billion, catapulting the online automobile marketplace into unicorn status.
Droom plans to go public next year, Mint had reported earlier. This year, even six-year old used car retailing platform, Spinny, raised a $108 million Series D round led by New York-based Tiger Global Management. The round valued Spinny at roughly $800 million.
With the current fundraise, CarDekho is looking to expand overseas to the Southeast Asian market, as it looks to set up larger format stores to increase its presence in metro and non-metro cities, one of the individuals quoted above told Mint.
Earlier in February, this year, Mint had reported that CarDekho had postponed its plans to open 250 stores in the country and was targeting to set up large format showrooms, operated by the company.
“Bigger stores will give us economies of scale and more leverage on manpower efficiency. We will go with the top three-four cities and try different formats," Amit Jain, co-founder and chief executive of CarDekho told Mint in an interaction.
Mint’s queries to CarDekho went unanswered until press time on Tuesday.
Competition in the online car-retailing space has heated up over the past months. Even cab aggregator and electric-vehicle manufacturer Ola entered in the used-cars online retailing space with its platform Ola Cars. It announced the launch of the platform earlier this month.
Through its platform ,Ola plans to offer services ranging from purchase, vehicle finance and insurance, registration, maintenance including vehicle health diagnostics and finally resale of the vehicle back to Ola Cars.