Singaporean automotive marketplace Carro says raises $360 million to become unicorn

A view of the Carro signage at their showroom in Singapore June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore-headquartered Carro, a Southeast Asian online automotive marketplace, said on Tuesday it has raised $360 million in its latest funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, becoming the region's latest unicorn.

"The valuation for the company is well over a billion dollars," CEO and founder of Carro, Aaron Tan, told Reuters. He did not provide a specific number.

Carro will use the fresh capital to expand into new locations and grow its business in its existing markets - Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. It also plans to expand its portfolio of financial services and accelerate development of artificial intelligence capabilities.

Carro's platform allows consumers and wholesale businesses to buy and sell vehicles along with providing insurance and financing services.

Other investors in the new round of financing include several prominent Indonesian based funds including EV Growth, it said.

Since being founded in 2015, Carro has raised more than $400 million in equity and $200 million in debt. Its previous investors include SoftBank Ventures Asia, EDBI Pte, Insignia Ventures Partners and B Capital Group.

The company has started preparing internally for an initial public offering (IPO), Tan said.

"The plan is to IPO the company, hopefully, in the next 18-24 months in the U.S., depending on whether the market holds," he said.

While Carro saw an initial decline in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like other digital businesses, the company is now benefiting from users shifting to online transactions.

"People are more willing to buy vehicles entirely online without the need to visit a showroom," he said.

Carro booked revenues of $300 million for the year ending March 2021 and has registered positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for two years.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Ed Davies)

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