India’s Used Car Unicorn Nears $250 Million Deal With DST

Cars24 Services is in talks with Yuri Milner’s DST Global and other investors to raise up to $250 million.

India’s Used Car Unicorn Nears $250 Million Deal With DST
Customers browse used cars at B.K.C Autoworld used car dealer in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)

India’s Cars24 Services Pvt. is in talks with Yuri Milner’s DST Global and other investors for a funding round that could double the used-vehicle site’s value to $2 billion, a person familiar with the discussions said.

India’s biggest online marketplace for pre-owned cars is set to raise $200 million to $250 million from existing backers including DST, which may lead the round, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing a private deal. Other investors including Moore Capital Management could join the deal, which could close in a few weeks, the person added. The pact could value Cars24 at $1.6 billion to $2 billion, up from about $1 billion in November, when it closed a Series E round, the person said.

Used-vehicle sales are booming in India because consumers are shunning mass transit systems to avoid catching Covid-19. While the pandemic has stymied sales of new autos, pre-owned cars are in demand as cost-conscious buyers seek value for money.

India’s Used Car Unicorn Nears $250 Million Deal With DST

Cars24 and DST Global representatives declined to comment. Moore representatives didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

The startup, based in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi, was founded in 2015 by Vikram Chopra, Mehul Agrawal, Ruchit Agarwal and Gajendra Jangid to make the used-vehicle trade smoother. Buying and selling cars in India has long been an anxiety-ridden, bumpy process dominated by street-corner mom-and-pop sales yards, with consumers distrustful of the pricing and the condition of the vehicle.

Cars24 aims to make the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle as easy as buying a refrigerator or a smartphone online. It prices vehicles based on AI algorithms and uses data to determine which car would give the new owner least trouble. The vehicles are refurbished in the company’s reconditioning facilities before being listed on its platform. Cars24 has a seven-day no-questions-asked return policy and provides a six-month warranty. It also sells pre-owned motorcycles and scooters and offers financing.

The startup said earlier this month it has expanded to Australia and the United Arab Emirates and plans to enter other markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia this year. In November, Cars24 said its website traffic had increased by four times since the start of the pandemic. Its existing investors include Sequoia Capital India, Exor Seeds, Kingsway Capital Partners and others.

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