Automobile classifieds portal CarTrade.com has secured $145 million (Rs 950 crore) from Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings, US-based March Capital and existing investor Warburg Pincus in its latest funding round.
This is the second-largest funding deal in dollar terms in the online classifieds segment in India and possibly the largest in rupee terms. General classifieds site Quikr raised $150 million last year, or a little over Rs 900 crore based on the foreign-exchange value at the time.
For Temasek, the deal marks a blockbuster start to 2016 after it emerged as the top PE-style investor in India last year with 14 transactions. The firm sealed 11 new investments last year in companies including food-tech startup Zomato, Oberoi Realty and Sun Pharma, as well as three follow-on deals â€“ in Mahindra & Mahindra, M&M Financial Services and online marketplace Snapdeal.
Car Trade Pvt Ltd, which operates the portal, said it will use the money to fund its November acquisition of rival CarWale from German media conglomerate Axel Springer. It will also use the funds to expand its services organically and through acquisitions.
"This investment is a validation of CarTrade's business model and growth plans in the Indian online auto space," said Vinay Sanghi, founder and CEO, CarTrade.
CarTrade is an online marketplace to buy and sell new and used vehicles. It also provides reviews, on-road prices, car comparisons and latest auto news.
The company was started by Sanghi, a former CEO of Mahindra First Choice. Rajan Mehra, managing director at Nirvana Venture Advisors and former country head of eBay India, is also a founder-director at CarTrade. Its other investors include Canaan Partners, Epiphany Overseas Ventures and Tiger Global.
Following its recent combination with CarWale, CarTrade has become India's largest auto classifieds platform. Collectively, the two portals clock about 32 million visits a month and work with about 10,000 new- and used-car dealer partners. The platforms list more than 225,000 used cars for sale.
CarTrade's acquisition of CarWale was the third takeover deal in the segment in little more than a year. BikeWale, CarWale's two-wheeler platform, had also merged with CarTrade as part of the deal.
In February last year, CarTrade had raised an undisclosed amount from Chip Perry, founding CEO of Auto Trader, the largest online auto classifieds company in the US.
In October 2014, it raised Rs 185 crore ($28 million) in funding led by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, with participation from Canaan Partners and Tiger Global.
CarTrade competes with ventures such as CarDekho (and its separate site Gaadi), Truebil, Zoomo and CredR, besides horizontal P2P platforms such as OLX and Quikr.
Its nearest rival CarDekho had acquired Zigwheels.com for an undisclosed amount in September. The same month CredR raised $15 million from Eight Road Ventures.
Avendus Capital was the sole financial advisor to CarTrade for the latest transaction.