Southeast Asia’s largest used auto eCommerce marketplace Carsome has recently joined the list of Malaysian unicorn startups after securing $170 million USD in a Series D funding round led by Asia Partners, boosting the company’s total valuation to $1.3 billion USD. In addition, the company also secured $30 million USD worth of new credit facilities. The latest round was the firm’s largest-ever equity investment and saw participation from one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the region, according to Carsome, who did not reveal the investor’s name. A group of new international investors also took part in the funding round.
With the fresh capital, Carsome is optimistic about enhancing its ability to make strategic investments, mergers, and acquisitions to expand its retail and auto-financing businesses. In August 2021, the startup joined Catcha Group to acquire Australian-listed competitor iCar Asia for $200 million USD. The partnership aims to generate $1 billion USD in annual revenue and sell 100,000 vehicles.
We speak to Carro about their rise to the unicorn club
Used car sales recovering despite major setbacks
Economic growth in Malaysia declined in 2020 due to the pandemic and domestic political uncertainty, which in turn hindered the sales of new vehicles. The country’s Total Industry Volume (TIV) fell by 12.4% in 2020 compared to 2019, with only 529,434 units sold. In 2022, automotive sales will likely see a growth of 5.8%, primarily due to the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, which hopes to set the Malaysian economy on the road to recovery.
Meanwhile, used car sales are gradually climbing as the sector begins to show promising signs of recovery. This growth is mainly because, as the virus continues to rage on, people want to avoid public transportation or ride-sharing and require affordable alternatives to navigate the new normal safely. Carsome is just one of the many Malaysian startups seeking to disrupt the traditional business model of auto dealerships, service centres, and auto shops using auto eCommerce.
Let’s take a look at several emerging Malaysian auto eCommerce startups that are making great strides in the industry:
myTukar Sdn. Bhd.
Rapidly growing used auto eCommerce platform, myTukar, has recently launched the first phase of its novel used car purchasing experience with a chain of retail centres spread across major shopping malls in the Klang Valley region, where the capital, Kuala Lumpur, sits. The company simultaneously launched its retail website to go hand-in-hand to provide customers with an enhanced, comprehensive ownership experience that is convenient, transparent, and user-friendly.
Using a technology-enabled platform with a blend of digital and physical operations at a one-stop centre, customers can now acquire new or used automobiles or trade-in their used cars, all on one platform. For the used car sales sector, this marks a significant milestone. This novel concept will likely be implemented across the country shortly, promoting used car sales growth.
Its Singaporean-based parent company, Carro, backed the company with a $30 million USD investment in September 2019.
Motorcycle manufacturers, dealers, service providers, and consumers can depend on the iMotorbike platform for financing, insurance, or market research needs. Recently, the company made its foray into the Vietnamese market and has already amassed more than 4,500 agents with 470,000 products, including prominent brands like Ducati, Yamaha, and Harley-Davidson. The company aims to provide customers with the best experience via an all-inclusive and efficient online ecosystem.
In June 2021, iMotorbike brought its funding up to $850 thousand USD after raising an undisclosed amount from 500 Startups.
Auto Craver Tradings Sdn. Bhd.
Auto Craver is another startup that hopes to contribute to the transformation and digitisation of the Malaysian auto dealership industry by launching Turbo DMS, a quick and easy website solution available to car dealers in the country.
The website is available as a service package that encompasses car inventory information, listing management, and cloud web hosting. Through the platform, Auto Craver aims to empower local car dealers in stepping up their online branding and offerings.
So far, the company has raised over $46 thousand USD in pre-seed round funding through the local accelerator firm ScaleUp Malaysia.
Founded in 2015, CarBengkel is an app that connects car owners with the most suitable workshops based on the type of vehicle and location. The app currently has more than 1,000 service locations across the country, including official Proton and Perodua workshops.
Via the app, you can receive quotations and a detailed breakdown of costs before making a booking. Then, you can make an appointment to skip the queues and choose to drop your vehicle off at your preferred workshop or arrange to have it picked up. Should you opt to drop it off yourself, the app also has Google Maps and Waze integration to direct you to your chosen location.
As used car sales continue to rise, there is a good chance that more innovators will join the ranks of Malaysian unicorn startups. The success of Carsome and the other auto eCommerce startups marks a promising resurgence for the Malaysian automotive industry.