India’s unicorn list is rapidly growing bigger, and it now contains several startups that are jostling for the same markets.
After Cars24 and Droom, CarDekho has become India’s latest automobile platform to enter the unicorn club. CarDekho announced a $250 million round of funding that included $200 million Series E equity and $50 million debt. The round values CarDekho at $1.2 billion, making it the 32nd Indian startup to enter the unicorn club this year.
“CarDekho, from being a car research portal, has evolved to become a complete ecosystem for car buying, lifecycle management and selling,” said CarDekho co-founder and CEO Amit Jain. “We are committed to empowering our customers and providing them with a convenient and hassle-free experience. The new fundraise will help us expand our Used Car transactions and Financial services businesses,” he added. CarDekho also said that it would use the funds to build its financial services and insurance businesses, increase brand awareness, and expand into new markets.
CarDekho was founded all the way back in 2008 by Amit Jain and Anurag Jain, who already ran a software development business in GirnarSoft. CarDekho bills itself as a car search venture, which helps customers find the right car for them. Its website and app help customers choose which cars to buy through expert reviews, detailed specs and prices, comparisons as well as videos and pictures. CarDekho also helps customers eventually purchase cars through its platform with tie-ups with several auto manufacturers, more than 4000 car dealers, and numerous financial institutions which facilitate vehicle loans.
The company has grown significantly over the last decade — CarDekho now buys cars from customers in more than 100 markets, and has a catalogue of 3,000+ certified pre-owned cars for online purchase. It’s also big in the car loan space — CarDekho’s fintech platform is the fourth largest used car retail loan originator in India, behind HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Mahindra Finance.
And the company has looked to capture all parts of the automotive business — it runs BikeDekho.com for bikes, Gaadi.com which helps people sell their cars online, content platform ZigWheels.com, and car insurance platform InsuranceDekho.com. The company has expanded internationally too with localized ZigWheels websites for Philippines, Malaysia and UAE, and Oto.com for Indonesia.
There’s no shortage of car platforms in India — Cars24 and Droom, which also joined the unicorn club earlier this year, also operate in much same space, and compete with each other for customers’ attentions. But it’s perhaps testament to India’s market size that three companies in the same business vertical have managed to attain a $1 billion valuation within a span of a few months. And CarDekho’s entry into the unicorn club marks yet another milestone — the company was founded in Jaipur, and becomes the first unicorn from India’s pink city. India’s unicorn list isn’t only growing larger — it’s also touching more parts of India than ever before.