Carousell turns unicorn after raising US$100 million for US$1.1 billion value

Carousell was founded in 2012 and now counts Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India among its backers. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Online classifieds marketplace Carousell has joined the list of local unicorns - unlisted start-ups valued in excess of US$1 billion.

The group has raised US$100 million (S$134 million) in its latest funding round, taking its valuation to US$1.1 billion, it announced on Wednesday (Sept 15). The round was led by South Korean private equity firm STIC Investments.

The funds will be used to fuel expansion for the company - a platform for the sale of second-hand products such as automobiles, clothing and even property.

Carousell was founded in 2012 and counts venture capital firms Golden Gate Ventures, Sequoia India, 500 Startups and Singapore's Economic Development Board's investment arm EDBI among its investors.

Co-founder and chief executive Quek Siu Rui said: "The pandemic has shown us that our mission to inspire the world to start selling and buying second-hand is more relevant than ever."

The company operates across eight markets in South-east Asia under the Carousell name as well as other brands.

While it was used more in categories such as fashion and electronics in its earlier years, Carousell has ventured into other consumer segments such as property and automobiles.

"We are looking at authentication capabilities for higher-value products, including luxury goods and cars," said Mr Quek.

"Our goal is to make transacting in a second-hand marketplace as convenient and trusted as any e-commerce platform so that secondhand can truly be the first choice."

Earlier this year, the firm piloted a programme offering 12-month warranties for used mobile phones, and also launched integrated shipping with Malaysia's national postal service to provide contactless transaction options for users in the country during its movement control order.

It launched Carousell Auto Group in April to strengthen its position in the region's auto industry.

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