Singapore start-up Carro bags $360 million in funds from SoftBank and others

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A used car dealership is seen in Laurel, Maryland on May 27, 2021, as many car dealerships across the country are running low on new vehicles as a computer chip shortage has caused production at many vehicle manufactures to nearly stop.
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SINGAPORE — Singapore-based start-up Carro announced Tuesday that it raised $360 million in a Series C funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.

The start-up operates an online marketplace where users can buy, sell or lease pre-owned and new cars. It also sells financing options, insurance and maintenance services for those vehicles.

Carro did not disclose its exact valuation. However, the company said it is the newest Southeast Asian start-up to cross the $1 billion mark — referred to as unicorns.

Other investors in the newest funding round include several Indonesia-based funds such as EV Growth.

Founder and CEO Aaron Tan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” that there is definite interest to take the company public over the next 18 to 24 months.

“I would say that ‘where’ depends on what is good at that point in time,” he said Tuesday, when asked where Carro may potentially list. “We like to think that the U.S., especially the New York stock exchange, or the Nasdaq, would probably be a good bourse to list the company potentially.”

Carro said the new funds would be used to strengthen its market position and expand on products and services sold across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It would also be used to speed up development of the company’s artificial intelligence technology that is used to facilitate transactions on the site.

Some of Southeast Asia’s largest start-ups are currently preparing to go for public listing as well.

Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab announced in April that it would go public through a “blank check” merger valued at $39.6 billion — the special purpose acquisition company deal is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter. Elsewhere, newly merged Indonesian tech giant GoTo Group is also in talks to go public.

Venture capital firm 500 Startups recently told CNBC that Grab and GoTo initial public offerings could spawn more start-ups in the region.

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