It’s rare and interesting at the same time when an Indian Internet company raked in over $50 million of risk capital and never gave an iota of any clue. In fact, the startup ecosystem hasn’t witnessed a single instance of such well-deserved feat (where startup’s success is essentially weight in funding it amassed).
While one can access funding and financials details of private companies via media reports and RoC filings, Cars24 seems an exception as Entrackr failed to find any media report covering its fundraising.
To uncover investment rounds raised by Cars24, we accessed the regulatory filings of its Singapore-registered parent entity (Global Car Group Pte Ltd.). And, the revelations were nothing less than startling.
So far, the used car buying platform has raised $49.95 million from 16 investors, including Apoletto Asia, Venture Highway along with a group of investors, amongst them most have never invested in Indian startups previously.
For instance, it raised over $19.6 million from Cayman Islands-based Kingsway FCI Fund and $23 million from Toronto-headquartered KCK Global Limited. Rahul Ravindra Raj Mehta (whose particulars couldn’t be ascertained) has invested $500,000.
Apoletto Asia has injected approx $5.3 million into the company. Other investors in the company include 500 Startups III, Asia Venture Group Ltd., Cyprus-based Vendebita Trading Ltd., Philipp Freise (KKR Private Equity) and Mauritius-based Regent Street Partners.
Floated by former Fabfurnish co-founders Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agrawal, Cars24 has an asset-heavy model, which buys the car on behalf of dealers. Recently, it also started its first consumer-facing offline outlet in South Delhi Vasant Square Mall (Vasant Kunj).
In an interview to BusinessWorld in October last year, Chopra claimed that the company had facilitated 35,000 transactions till then with an estimated GMV of $1 billion. Currently, it claimed to have 50 branches across 11 cities and successfully managed to auction over 100K cars till October last year.
Meanwhile, Mato Peric (more on his Indian connection later in the post), founder, and CEO of MPGI Holdings is one of the founding investor, Director, and Chairman of Cars24.
Interestingly, Apoletto Asia is a sister concern for DST global that had invested in Germany’s Auto1 Group. The success of Auto1 in European continent seemed to have triggered Yuri Milner-funded Apoletto to place a bet on Cars24.
Over the past 8-10 months, Cars24 has been aggressively advertising on television, radio, print and outdoor. According to Entrackr’s sources, the company has been spending around $2-2.5 million alone on advertising every month. The company had launched an advertisement series in December last year with Boman Irani as the celebrity face.
According to RoC filings with MCA, the company had a total revenue of Rs 420 crore in FY17 while it reported losses of Rs 76 crore. It had incurred a total expense of about Rs 497 crore during the FY17. Cars24 is yet to file financials for FY18.
While we don’t know the reasons for not disclosing funding scooped-up by the company, it appears like Cars24 follows a reclusive model when it comes to PR and press. Such model is very close to Samnwear brothers-led German incubator and investor.
Since Peric had spearheaded Jabong, Fabfurnish and Rocket Internet’s other portfolio companies in India, it seems like he, along with founders and stakeholders deliberately kept quiet about funding and other aspects of Cars24.