Carro: Tech innovation drives online car portal to the top

Exploring novel ideas and being adventurous are two values that have helped Carro to grow quickly.
Exploring novel ideas and being adventurous are two values that have helped Carro to grow quickly.PHOTO: CARRO

SINGAPORE - An online car marketplace driven by technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) bagged the top spot in this year's fastest-growing companies ranking, compiled by The Straits Times and global research company Statista.

Exploring novel ideas and being adventurous are two values that have helped Carro to grow quickly, said chief executive and founder Aaron Tan.

The firm now provides customers with end-to-end services for all aspects of car ownership, including financing and after-sales services. It provides a car subscription service here and also enables a fully contactless purchasing experience for second-hand cars.

Mr Tan said: "In 2020, there was a strong focus on digitalisation worldwide due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

"Carro launched many technological innovations in response to that shift, including providing a fully contactless car purchase process and launching an AI-based auto insurance product that calculates premiums based on the driver's behaviour and distance travelled."

This year, the company will continue to push boundaries and innovate, by providing an AI-driven car-buying experience for customers.

It will also continue developing its data science and AI capabilities to digitalise the automotive industry in South-east Asia.

Progress has been speedy for the company, which was started in 2015 by Mr Tan and co-founders Aditya Lesmana and Kelvin Chng.

Studying in the United States at the time, Mr Tan created algorithms that could help him find the best used cars to purchase quickly and efficiently.

He realised that the algorithm could be used to increase the transparency of the purchasing process and eliminate the middleman.

That idea grew into a small start-up of four people, before burgeoning into a 800-strong company with presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Mr Tan stressed that the key to growing the business is not in selling many cars but in providing a differentiated customer experience.

"Volume is not the be-all and end-all for Carro. We focus on solving the key issues for the auto industry and driving transformation through technology, which naturally leads to business growth."

Mr Tan said he hopes the business can grow two to three times this year and achieve $1 billion in annualised revenue by the end of next year - based on the firm's year-on-year revenue growth and the current trends in the auto industry.