Jaipur-based Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, the company behind auto portal CarDekho.com, has raised $50 million (around Rs 307 crore) from Chinese investment management firm Hillhouse Capital and Hong Kong-based hedge fund Tybourne Capital. The round also saw participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital, a top company executive said.
“We will use the funds for brand building and marketing, besides innovating on the mobile app front. We will also look at acquiring startups to enhance our technology platform. Our vision is also to be a company with a global footprint through our innovative products and services,” said Amit Jain, co-founder, Girnar Software.
“Our revenues have grown three-fold since 2013 when we received our first round of funding from Sequoia, and we are doubling our lead generation Y-O-Y. The funding adds to our fast-paced growth,” he added.
Jain said the company is valued at $300 million post-money.
Commenting on their investment, David Rhee, partner, Hillhouse Capital, who heads its international investments and will join CarDekho board, said, “We see tremendous growth opportunities in the online automobile classified market in India. CarDekho is best positioned to take advantage of this market as we are in the early stages of the development of the auto industry and its transition to online.”
Eashwar Krishnan, portfolio manager, Tybourne Capital, said, “We view CarDekho as a direct comparable to Autohome in China (another Tybourne investment), and as the leader in the space, we expect CarDekho to capture a substantial portion of the auto classifieds market in India.”
CarDekho.com was founded by siblings Amit and Anurag Jain around seven years ago. It is an online marketplace for users to buy and sell used as well as new cars. For new cars, the portal offers content for research as well as dealers’ contact information. The site also offers information on car insurance and finance. For every buyer that goes to a dealer via CarDekho, the company earns a share. Similarly for the used car model, the firm charges dealers for displaying the inventory.
Local consumers can also list their used cars on the portal for free or opt for a premium listing. Apart from these, the site uses advertisements as a means to generate revenues. This way the site follows a multiple-revenue model. The firm has also partnered with car manufacturers. It passes on leads to manufacturers and charges them only when the automobile is purchased.
In November 2013, Girnar raised $15 million in its Series A round of funding from Sequoia Capital. The firm also runs BikeDekho.com and price comparison and product discovery engine PriceDekho.com.
Last year, the company had acquired Naspers Group-owned Gaadi.com, another automobile site, for an undisclosed sum.
Other players operating in the online auto classifieds space include Times Internet’s Zigwheels, Sierra Ventures-backed Carwale, Autoindia.com, Carazoo.com and MotorExchange.
For Hillhouse Capital, this is its first known investment in India. Founded in 2005 by Zhang Lei, this $15 billion fund house invests in both public market and private firms and is particularly known for backing Chinese startups, especially internet firms in the country. Its investments include Tencent and JD.com.
Tybourne, on the other hand, is a relatively new fund but has already invested in two internet companies in India including Housing.com and Snapdeal. It was founded by Indian origin investment professional Eashwar Krishnan in 2012.
Elara Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the transaction.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)
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