Used-car marketplace CarDekho in India has raised $250 million from multiple investors, becoming a unicorn at a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion. The company called it a “pre-IPO round” and said it plans to expand internationally from India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where it now operates.

According to a news release, the funding round included $200 million in Series E equity and $50 million pre-IPO debt funding. The proceeds will go towards enhancing its financial services, insurance businesses, product and technology functions, and branding, along with expansion into new markets.

CarDekho was recently in news following the closing of many of its Gaadi-branded stores across India. The shift in strategy from offline to online comes on the back of the pandemic and associated mobility restrictions. The public health scare has driven many customers to the used cars market in search of personal mobility — which has benefitted Cars24, CarTrade, and Droom, among other used cars marketplaces in India.

The funding round was led by LeapFrog Investments, with participation from US-based Canyon Partners, Mirae Asset, and Harbor Spring Capital. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Sunley House also participated in what can be termed as CarDekho’s largest funding round to date.

Commenting on the round, Amit Jain, co-founder and CEO of CarDekho, said, “CarDekho, from being a car research portal, has evolved to become a complete ecosystem for car buying, lifecycle management, and selling. We are committed to empowering our customers and providing them with a convenient and hassle-free experience. The funds will help us expand our used cars transactions and financial services. The trust and conviction of our investors will help us to accelerate our growth plans whilst we provide our customers with an experience that will continue to re-define car buying and selling.”

Stewart Langdon, partner and co-head of South Asia for LeapFrog Investments, said, “Amit and the team have done an outstanding job in building the leading digital platform in India’s auto-tech market. We expect the business to continue on its rapid growth trajectory, thanks to the caliber of the team and the extraordinary tailwinds which this segment now enjoys from increasing formalization, digitization, and transparency. CarDekho is an outstanding platform for large scale social impact, already making vehicles more accessible, affordable, and trustworthy for over three million emerging consumers. Improving access to mobility in this way will help drive development in other key areas such as healthcare and education.”

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Cars24 became the first pure-play auto marketplace to join the coveted unicorn club and has since expanded to the UAE and Australia. CarTrade took the company public in August, before Droom raised $200-million pre-IPO funding and became a unicorn. At the time, CarDekho was in talks to raise $150 million.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Jaipur, CarDekho Group is owned and operated by GirnarSoft. The parent company also runs several other auto portals, including Gaadi, ZigWheels, and Carmudi Philippines. It registered a 50% year-over-year increase in revenues for FY2019-2020.

 

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