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Sequoia, Axis Bank lead Series C investment round in CarDekho
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Jaipur-based Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, which owns auto portal CarDekho.com, has closed its Series C funding round, raised from a mix of existing and new investors, two people familiar with the development told TechCircle. The round was led by Sequoia Capital’s global growth fund and private-sector lender Axis Bank.

Confirming the round in a press statement, the company said it had raised $110 million (Rs 770 crore). TechCircle was the first to report earlier in the day that the round had closed at $100 million.

Apart from Sequoia and Axis Bank, other investors who also put in money included Hillhouse Capital, Ratan Tata's RNT Associates and CapitalG, formerly known as Google Capital, the statement said.

A Mauritius-based investment entity called Aquila also invested, according to a regulatory filing. A CarDekho spokesperson said Aquila is an investment arm of Hong Kong-based hedge fund Tybourne Capital.

The Series C round values CarDekho at $400-450 million, the second person mentioned above added, requesting anonymity.

The company will use the capital to grow its new business verticals which include insurance and financing for the used car segment, the person added.

Investment banking firm the Rainmaker Group served as the financial adviser to CarDekho for its Series C investment round.

Email queries to CarDekho, Sequoia Capital, RNT Associates and CapitalG did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report. Chinese investor Hillhouse Capital could not be reached for comment.

Sequoia Capital is in the process of raising $8 billion for its new global growth fund. In August last year, it closed its sixth fund at $695 million to invest in early- and growth-stage companies in India and Southeast Asia, where it has made over 200 bets in startups.

Media reports in October 2018 stated that CarDekho had raised $75 million in a Series C funding round, and in March, Sequoia Capital had put $2.5 million into the venture as part of a larger Series B round.

In March 2016, Girnar Software raised an undisclosed sum from Google Capital (as CapitalG was known then) as part of an extended Series B funding round.

In January 2015, Girnar Software had received $50 million in the first tranche of its Series B investment round led by Hillhouse Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Tybourne Capital.

Girnar Software was founded in 2007 by siblings Amit Jain and Anurag Jain. Besides CarDekho, which is an online marketplace for used cars, it owns BikeDekho.com, Gaadi.com and TyreDekho.com and online shopping adviser BuyingIQ.com.

Users can also purchase new cars through dealers listed on CarDekho and can avail of car insurance and finance. For every buyer who purchases a new car via a dealer on the platform, the company earns a share. Similarly, for the used car model, the firm charges dealers for displaying inventory.

For the financial year ended March 2018, Girnar Software posted a 40% growth in revenue and losses narrowed. Its consolidated net sales grew to Rs 160 crore for 2017-18 from Rs 114 crore the year before.

The company has also acquired a number of ventures to expand its business.

In November 2018, it acqui-hired used cars platform Carbiqi to enter the used cars auction market. CarDekho will buy cars from consumers and dealers will bid for the inventory in a competitive process. CarDekho’s competitor Cars24 also follows a similar model.

In August 2018, it bought automotive content YouTube channel PowerDrift for an undisclosed amount.

In September 2015, it bought Zigwheels.com from Times Internet and acquired Naspers Group-owned Gaadi.com in 2014.

Its other acquisitions include Drishya360s (virtual reality), Volob Technologies (AR-VR focused visual communications), Connecto (SaaS startup), Help on Wheels (roadside assistance), Valueserve Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd (consulting firm) and Advanced Structures India (car testing and benchmarking firm).

Deals in the space

Besides Cars24, CarDekho competes with Truebil, Zoomo, Droom, Carwale and CarTrade. Online classifieds platforms OLX and Quikr, too, operate in the segment.

The past year has the used cars segment attract considerable investor attention.

In November 2018, Mumbai-based online marketplace for pre-owned cars Truebil raised $1.35 million in venture debt from Trifecta Capital and it had also secured close to $2 million in a fresh round led by its existing investor Inventus Capital Partners.

In October, Droom, an online marketplace for new and used vehicles, closed its Series E funding round at $30 million led by the family office of Japanese investor Joe Hirao, who is the founder of multi-business firm ZIGExN.

In July 2018, a media report stated that Gurugram-based online portal for automobiles Cars24 raised $50 million from Sequoia Capital and existing investors Cayman Islands-based Kingsway FCI Fund and Toronto-based KCK Global.

In April, VCCircle reported that Delhi-based online used vehicles marketplace BlueJack.in was to raise Rs 6.4 crore (around $923,000) in a pre- series A funding round led by investment firm WaterBridge Ventures.

*This article has been modified to clarify that Tybourne Capital, through Mauritius entity Aquila, invested in CarDekho and not European hedge fund Aquila Capital.

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