●Funds used to invest across Carsome's business
●Investors include Qatar Investment Authority, et al
The market talk was that it was raising in the vicinity of US$200 million for its next round, but in a clear demonstration of investor interest, Southeast Asian-based (SEA) e-commerce car platform Carsome has announced a US$290 million Series E raise at a post-money valuation of approximately US$1.7 billion.
With its September 2021 Series D round of US$170 million, Carsome, which claims to be the largest integrated automotive e-commerce platform in SEA, has raised a total of US$460 million in the space of four months, which ranks this among the most aggressive pre-IPO funding strategies in the region.
The current round is led by Qatar Investment Authority, which up to now, has been quiet in SEA, as well as Temasek-backed investors 65 Equity Partners (65EP) and Seatown Private Capital Master Fund.
Sinagpore's 65EP is a Temasek company managing the Anchor Fund, a S$1.5 billion co- investment fund by Temasek and the Singapore government designed to spur listings in Singapore.
According to the bare bones announcement (imposed on by its lawyers as the company prepares for its impending US IPO) from Carsome, echoing what it stated when announcing its Sept Series D, the funds will be used to invest across Carsome's business, from talent to product to technology.
The company said its brick and mortar retail brand, Carsome Certified, will also see expansion with the proceeds across key markets in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Other investors in this round include Malaysian conglomerates, Sunway and YTL Group, as well as Filipino conglomerate Gokongwei Group and Taiwanese companies, Mediatek and Taiwan Mobile.
Among its existing shareholders are Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, Asia Partners, Gobi Partners and 500 South-east Asia.
Already among the largest startups by headcount in SEA with around 2,000 people, co-founder and group chief executive officer, Eric Cheng (pic) said the goal is to increase its headcount by 40% to 50%, as well as triple its revenue this year.