Singapore-based Carro, a prominent online automotive marketplace in Southeast Asia, is actively engaging in discussions with potential investors to secure a funding round exceeding $100 million. According to a senior executive from the unicorn, the move is strategically timed as the company contemplates a potential listing in the United States within the next 18 months.
Established in 2015, Carro has expanded its operations across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and Taiwan. Having secured over $1 billion in debt and equity from investors, including SoftBank Corp and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Carro reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) exceeding $4 million in June, as disclosed in its August press release.
Carro is another firm in the broader trend of tech unicorns exploring IPOs to access additional capital and elevate their market presence. The funds raised are expected to help Carro’s expansion plans in the competitive global automotive space.
“Currently, we are entertaining approaches from certain investors as a result of which we are thinking of a small fundraise,” chief financial officer Ernest Chew told Reuters.
The investors involved in Carro’s fundraising efforts, described as global and regional “blue chips” by former HSBC banker and Carro executive Mr. Chew, remain undisclosed.
The fundraising, anticipated to exceed $100 million, has the potential to elevate Carro’s valuation beyond its existing $1 billion valuation with strong support from global and regional investors.
Mr. Chew, while acknowledging the presence of these prominent investors, refrained from providing further details.
The company, already valued at over $1 billion, is strategically putting itself in a position to attract capital from a diverse range of investors. Simultaneously, Carro is navigating financing options from banks, aiming to secure “triple-digit million dollar” financing at an attractive 5% annual rate, deemed by Mr. Chew as “near risk-free.”
The platform, facilitating vehicle transactions for both consumers and dealers, extends its services beyond transactions to encompass insurance and financing solutions, according to information available on its website.
In preparation for a potential initial public offering (IPO) in the US, Carro has undergone auditing up to the standards set by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
Carro faces competition in Southeast Asia from players like Malaysia-based Carsome, Indonesia’s OLX Auto, and Singapore’s Carousell Auto Group.