Mexican unicorn Kavak raises a $485M Series D at a $4B valuation.

Kavak, the Mexican startup that’s disrupted the used car market in Mexico and Argentina, today announced its Series D of $485 million, which now values the company at $4 billion. This round more than triples their previous valuation of $1.15 billion, which established them as a unicorn just a couple of months ago in October of 2020. Kavak is now one of the top five highest-valued startups in Latin America.

The round was led by D1 Capital Partners, Founders Fund, Ribbit, and BOND, and brings Kavak’s total capital raised to date to more than $900 million. Kavak recently soft-launched in Brazil, and this new round of funding will be used to build out the Brazilian market and beyond, said Carlos García Ottati, Kavak’s CEO and Co-Founder. The company plans to do a full launch in Brazil in the next 60 days, García said, and we can expect to see Kavak in markets outside Latin America in the next 24 months, he added.

“We were built to solve emerging market problems,” García said.

Kavak, which was founded in 2016, is an online marketplace that aims to bring transparency, security, and access to financing to the used car market. The company also offers its own financing through its fintech arm, Kavak Capital, and counts more than 2,500 employees and 20 logistics and reconditioning hubs in Mexico and Argentina.

“In Latin America, 90% of the [used car] transactions are informal, which leads to a 40% fraud rate,” said García, who experienced these challenges first-hand when he moved to Mexico from Colombia a couple of years ago and bought a used car. 

“My budget allowed me to buy a used car, but there was no infrastructure around it. It took me 6 months to buy the car, and then the car had legal and mechanical issues and I lost most of my money,” he said. Kavak buys cars from individuals, refurbishes them, and offers warranties to buyers.

“Instead of buying a new car, they can buy a better car that still has all the warranties. It’s a really aspirational process,” said García. The company, which really amounts to four companies in one given its areas of focus, was built to be comprehensive by design in order to meet the various gaps in the market, García said.

“When you’re building a business here [Latin America], you need to build several businesses because so many things are broken,” he said. That’s why the financing option, for example, has been a key to their success, according to García.

Financing has traditionally been hard to come by in Brazil, and as García said, the used car market lacks infrastructure there, too. That being said, Brazil is Latin America’s fintech hub, and the space has been made leaps and bounds over the last 7-10 years with companies such as Nubank, PagSeguro, Creditas, PicPay, and others leading the way. As a result, credit cards and loans are more widely available today in the region, offering competition for Kavak Capital. While Kavak has localized some of its product for the Brazilian market — namely building out a Portuguese language version of the app and website — García said the markets are very similar.

“In Brazil, you still have the same problems that you have in Mexico, but Brazil is a little more developed, especially in fintech, which is light years ahead of Mexico,” he said.

With the Brazilian product heading to the races, García said they already have plans for other regions, though he declined to name them.

“80% of people in emerging markets don’t have access to a car,” García said of the global market size. “We want to go into big markets where customers are facing similar problems and where Kavak can really change their lives,” he added.

#apps, #argentina, #articles, #automotive, #brazil, #colombia, #creditas, #d1-capital-partners, #ecommerce, #finance, #financial-technology, #financing, #founders-fund, #funding, #latin-america, #logistics, #mexico, #nubank, #online-lending, #online-marketplace, #pagseguro, #recent-funding, #series-d, #startups, #transportation, #unicorn, #used-cars

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Prosus classifieds group OLX shuts down Berlin’s Frontier Car Group to focus OLX Autos on LatAm and Asia

Cazoo is picking up significant capital today by teaming up with a SPAC in the U.S. at a $7 billion valuation, but it’s the end of the line for another big European name in used-car sales. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Berlin-based Frontier Car Group, which builds used-car marketplaces with a focus on emerging markets, is shutting down its operations in the city.

Its majority owner OLX Group, a division of Prosus (the tech holdings of Naspers that is now listed as a separate entity), said that it wants to refocus on more local operations in Latin America and Asia under its OLX Autos brand, into which it will fold in the remaining FCG operations.

The company currently has operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Peru. OLX Autos independently also had three other brands: CarFirst brand in Pakistan, Cars45 in Nigeria, and webuyanycar.com in the US.

OLX took a controlling stake in Frontier as a result of an investment of about $400 million in late 2019, valuing Frontier at around $700 million at the time. There was no official announcement of the closure, but we saw the news in passing on Twitter, and Prosus spokesperson confirmed the details to TechCrunch in a statement.

“OLX Group can confirm the closure of the FCG Germany GmbH entity based in Berlin over the coming months,” said the spokesperson. “This entity represents a subset of the OLX Group workforce in Berlin – other OLX Group employees in Berlin were not impacted by this entity closure, and those operations are ongoing. This decision to close FCG Germany GmbH was not taken lightly. The decision reflects the evolution of the OLX Autos strategy to focus more strongly on the LatAm and Asia markets. In order to have our development teams closer to our customers, we will shift core product development operations to India, a key market for OLX Autos. OLX Group is committed to taking care of our people in such a difficult situation and has offered a financial runway beyond what is compulsory, to allow time and flexibility to find new roles. Effected employees are being encouraged to apply for open roles within our other entities.”

About 100 people are being impacted by the news, the company confirmed to us and it looks to be an immediate move. If you go to FCG’s site now, it automatically redirects to OLX.

Although it was founded and headquartered in Berlin, Frontier Car Group had always focused on emerging markets and taking the used-car marketplace model to those countries.

Inspired by Cazoo rival Auto1 — another Berlin-based used-car marketplace that went public via a listing in Germany in February and is now valued at $12.6 billion (likely an encouraging comparison for Cazoo investors) — Frontier founders Sujay Tyle, Peter Lindholm and André Kussmann thought they could take that model to less developed markets for a bigger opportunity.

“I fell in love with the Auto1 model,” Tyle told TechCrunch back in 2018. “I could see how it could be applied to emerging markets. Emerging markets represent nascency.” Tyle himself is a whizz-kid who hails from the U.S. and was in his early 20s when he co-founded Frontier. He left it in August 2020 and now lives in Mexico City, building a new e-commerce investor there called Merama.

Frontier, in part because of the success of Auto1 (which took hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from the likes of Sequoia, SoftBank and others), became a part of the guard of exciting new tech startups building businesses out of Berlin.

That focus on emerging markets linked up Naspers’ global expansion strategy, and so OLX, a classifieds operation that had an interest in automotive marketplaces, became a strategic investor in Frontier, first with a smaller stake, and eventually taking majority ownership and control of the operation.

It’s not clear why OLX decided to wind down the Frontier brand and to double down OLX Autos but notably, over the last year it looks like OLX was restructuring in other markets, including with the layoff of 250 people in its operations in India after shutting down marketplaces focused on real estate and used goods.

While some companies like Cazoo have apparently seen a strong surge of business in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the health crisis has hit a number of economies, economic sectors and specific companies harder than others, leading to tightening costs. Overall, we’ve seen big slumps in new car sales in different markets around the world.

A Prosus spokesperson said that both OLX and OLX Autos were impacted at the start of Covid-19 but have since recovered. Prosus has remained profitable in what has been a turbulent year, but some have pointed out that those profits have declined. (It will next update its financials in June.)

#ecommerce, #emerging-markets, #europe, #frontier-car-group, #marketplaces, #naspers, #olx, #prosus, #used-cars

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Used car marketplace Carsome gets $30 million Series D for its Southeast Asia growth plans

Carsome, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform for used cars, announced it has closed a $30 million Series D. The funding was led by Asia Partners, with participation from returning investors Burda Principal Investments and Ondine Capital.

The startup claims that this is one of the largest “all-equity financings to-date in Southeast Asia’s online automotive industry.” Part of the Series D may be used for mergers and acquisitions to consolidate the company’s supply chain.

Founded five years ago in Malaysia, Carsome’s platform serves both C2C and B2C segments, and ensures quality by conducting inspections before vehicles are listed on its platform. It now has 1,000 employees and claims to transact 70,000 cars on an annualized basis, totaling $600 million.

In a press statement, co-founder and group chief executive officer Eric Cheng said that the company, which now also operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, doubled its monthly revenue over the past six months, compared to pre-pandemic levels. The company claims that this is partly because more people and businesses are buying their own cars for safety reasons.

While sales of new vehicles have plummeted around the world, used car sales, especially through e-commerce platforms, are recovering more quickly, according to Counterpoint Research. This largely because people want to avoid public transportation and ride-hailing, but also want cheaper options.

Other used car platforms in Southeast Asia include Carro, OLX Autos (formerly called BeliMobilGue) and Carmudi.

#asia, #carsome, #ecommerce, #indonesia, #malaysia, #singapore, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc, #thailand, #used-cars, #vehicles

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Cazoo, the UK used car sales portal, raises another $311M, now valued at over $2B

A lot of people are opting to use cars instead of taking public transportation in the UK at the moment, as a way of ensuring more social distancing, and today one of the startups that’s built a more efficient way of selling and buying cars is announcing a big round of funding. Cazoo, which provides an app-based way to browse and buy used cars (it’s modeled on the likes of Vroom in the US), has picked up £240 million ($311 million).

The funding comes only six months after the company raised $116 million. Cazoo is now valued at over $2 billion, double its previous valuation a year ago, it confirmed. (For some context, the company had never confirmed its valuation prior to now and it was estimated at a much lower amount.)

This latest funding is being led by General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and funds managed by Fidelity Management & Research Company and Blackrock, with other new and existing investors participating. The list includes L Catterton, Durable Capital Partners, The Spruce House Partnership, Novator, Mubadala Capital and dmg ventures. It brings the total raised by the company to date to £450 million ($582 million).

We have reached out to the company to get more details on what portion of the funding is equity and what is debt, and we will update as we learn more. (Debt plays a big role in funding for companies that need to take on a lot of assets, like cars, in order for the business model to function. As we’ve seen with others in the same category of disrupting car sales, like Fair, sometimes the debt far outstrips equity funding, and as we’ve seen with Fair, sometimes even a lot of money cannot help a business work.)

A spokesperson confirmed that the funds will be used to grow the team, brand and infrastructure and to continue to develop the proposition as we continue to make car buying better for all UK consumers.

Founded by Alex Chesterman, who had also founded LoveFilm (acquired by Amazon and used as the first step in its move into building its Netflix competitor, Amazon Prime Video) and the property sales site Zoopla, Cazoo says that it has hit £100 million in revenues since launching less than a year ago, selling and delivering “thousands” of cars every month. It does not disclose whether it is profitable.

The company’s boost comes from a new surge of interest not just from more people having a car for getting from A to B — and I’ll say as a London resident that traffic definitely feels worse these days — but also from people looking for online, virtual ways of doing this to avoid the physical contact that typically comes with more traditional ways of buying vehicles.

“Over the past few months we have seen an acceleration in the shift from offline to online car buying as UK consumers have continued to embrace our unique and market-leading proposition,” said Chesterman in a statement. “This latest funding demonstrates the conviction of some of the world’s best investors in both our business model and team as well as the UK market and gives Cazoo the firepower to deliver on our plans to provide the best possible car buying experience for UK consumers.”

Chesterman’s pedigree as a founder helps with raising money and opening doors.

“I have known Alex for seventeen years since our days building LoveFilm,” said Adam Valkin, MD of General Catalyst, in a statement. “He has made a career out of identifying large consumer markets where technology can drive change and then leading that transformation by focusing on the customer and delivering value, convenience and a trusted service. With Cazoo, Alex is taking his proven playbook to perhaps his largest opportunity yet for the benefit of used car buyers across the UK.”

Dan Sundheim, Founder of D1 Capital added, “We’re excited to partner with Alex and the team at Cazoo. They have generated enormous value for customers and shareholders in their previous internet ventures and we are confident that Cazoo will greatly accelerate the digital transformation of the used car industry and dramatically improve the car buying experience for consumers in the UK.”

#automotive, #cazoo, #europe, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #used-cars

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What to Know About Your Used Car

Sales of previously owned vehicles are booming, but many new owners may not realize what they’re in for in terms of upkeep.

#automobile-service-and-charging-stations, #automobiles, #carfax, #content-type-service, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #engines, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #used-cars

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Looking to Buy a Used Car in the Pandemic? So Is Everyone Else

Eager to avoid public transit and Uber, and to save money, buyers are emptying dealerships.

#advertising-and-marketing, #automobiles, #consumer-behavior, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #factories-and-manufacturing, #personal-finances, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #used-cars

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New York, Where Many Chose Not to Drive Ever, is Suddenly Motor City

New Yorkers have historically been lukewarm on car ownership. Then came the you-know-what.

#automobiles, #new-york-city, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #used-cars

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