Online Classifieds Marketplace Carousell Secures US$80M From Naver

With the latest investment, Carousell’s post-money valuation stands at over US$900 million

Singapore-based online classifieds marketplace Carousell has secured US$80 million in a fresh round of financing led by South Korean Internet giant Naver, with participation from Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund and NH Investment & Securities, the startup announced in a press release yesterday.

Credit Suisse acted as the exclusive financial advisor for the transaction, the press release noted.

Carousell had previously raised $56 million from Naspers-owned OLX Group in April last year, at a valuation of over $550 million post money. The startup is also backed by Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naspers, and Sequoia Capital.

According to Jumpstart’s estimate, the startup has raised over $250 million to date. Per the press statement, its valuation now stands at over $900 million post money.

Founded in 2012, the business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace now has a presence in eight markets across Asia (SEA) with over 250 million listings, and claims to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplaces in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

The startup lists a variety of categories on its platform, including cars, lifestyle, real estate, gadgets and fashion accessories.

As part of its growth strategy, Carousell carried out a string of acquisitions over the last few years to accelerate its leadership in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Last year, it acquired OLX Philippines as part of its previous investment deal with OLX Group, and merged with 701Search, which owned online marketplaces Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam, and OneKyat in Myanmar.

According to the statement, the global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of ecommerce and online platforms as people moved online in light of movement restrictions, and has created a sense of kinship with people selling and donating items to their local community amid the pandemic.

The statement also noted Carousell’s regional COVID-19 support initiatives, which include $2 million worth of free ads allocated to non-profit organizations, the launch of a ‘Free Items’ category to help users donate items to those in need, and partnerships with government agencies including Enterprise Singapore, Hong Kong Productivity Council, and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation to support the digitalization of micro-enterprises and SMEs.

“The last six months have been challenging for all. It’s inspiring to see how the Carousell community is making the best out of a challenging situation, helping those in need and rallying each other on,” said Carousell Co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui.

“Their stories of how Carousell has been essential to them to make ends meet and afford what they need during this global health crisis reminds us to keep heads down focused in serving our community,” he added.

The startup aims to make selling and buying second-hand, a first choice, and is focussing on offering more personalized search and recommendations for millions of listings and users, automating marketplace quality to prevent fraud, and providing more accurate price, category and product data suggestions to enhance the selling experience, the press release said.

According to a report by Tech In Asia, Carousell almost doubled its revenue to $15.7 million in 2019, from $7 million in 2018, although the figure mostly consists of the company’s standalone revenue and does not include the majority of 701Search’s financial results last year. The report further indicates that Carousell’s losses for 2019 increased by over 60% to $40 million.

Commenting on the funding, Rui said, “We are excited to work closely with Naver, a leader in mobile services and has industry-leading credentials in advanced technologies, as we continue our focus on using technology to make selling and buying even simpler, effective and more inspiring.”

Jung An Lee, Head of Investments at Naver, said, “Carousell has built a tremendous platform enabling people in the region to transact more effectively and efficiently. We believe its efforts to focus on the products and the community will be further consolidating its market leader position.”

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