Carro, Singapore’s “Alibaba of Cars,” has breached the $1 billion valuation mark after obtaining a $360 million Series C funding. This makes the company the seventh unicorn based or founded in the city-state and the first automotive marketplace unicorn in Southeast Asia.

The latest capital injection was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the venture capital fund of the SoftBank Group of Japan. Other investors in the funding round are insurance firm MSIG, EV Growth, and a number of venture capital funds based in Indonesia.

In its funding announcement, Carro Founder and Chief Executive Aaron Tan lauded the milestone and thanked investors for the support. He also expressed optimism over the company’s future in view of the impact of digitalization and shifting consumer attitudes and business practices.

“This is a huge milestone for us. We are grateful for the strong support from our investors, which reaffirms our belief in the transformative power of AI in the automotive industry to deliver exceptional customer experience,” Tan remarked. “As digitalisation shapes the global landscape through new consumer habits and business practices, it is a very exciting time for an end-to-end online car marketplace like Carro,” he added.

The company says that it plans to use the additional funding to bolster its market position. Also, it seeks to broaden its retail offerings in four major Southeast Asian markets, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. The company notes that it has seen remarkable growth in these markets over the past year.

Additionally, Carro is planning to enhance its lineup of financial services particularly when it comes to the expansion of its in-house loan financing services. The company also intends to speed up the development of its financial AI functions in its online marketplace to become more efficient and competitive.

SoftBank Investment Advisers Managing Partner Greg Moon praised Carro for its success, highlighting the seamless experience it provides to its users. “Carro is transforming the automotive industry in Southeast Asia by providing a seamless buying and selling experience for both consumers and car dealers. Powered by AI, Carro’s technology platform provides consumers with full-stack services and transparency throughout the car ownership process,” Moon said.

Carro is looking forward to the rise of electric vehicle (EV) demand in Southeast Asia, as it boosts the company’s business model with car owners selling their combustion vehicles online as they purchase their EVs. Carro is already in talks with a number of EV companies from different parts of the world who want to introduce their products to Southeast Asia.

“For every car someone typically buys in Southeast Asia, there’s always a trade-in. Where do cars go, right? We are a marketplace, but on a very high level, what we’re doing is reusing and recycling. That’s a big part in the environmental sustainability of the business, and something that sets us apart from other players in the region,” Tan explained.

Founded in 2015 and registered under the legal name Trusty Cars Pte Ltd., Carro has business activities in the automotive, direct sales, e-commerce, and leasing industries. The company offers a full range of services to address all aspects of car ownership. The company with more than 1,000 employees takes pride in its proprietary algorithm to provide car buyers and sellers better experiences.

Carro says that it closed its financial year ending March 2021 with annual revenue that is 2.5 times higher than what it recorded in the previous fiscal year. The company continued to have a positive EBITDA. It also earned the recognition of being Financial Times and Statista’s fastest-growing company in the Asia Pacific in 2021.

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