Jaipur-based GirnarSoft has acquired Volob Technologies, a virtual reality startup in an all-cash deal. GirnarSoft is the parent company of CarDekho, Gaadi and Zigwheels.
According to the company, the acquisition will augment CarDekho’s 3D visualisation capabilities through technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality.
Founded in 2010 by Tarun Kumar and Shweta Jain, Volob Technologies provides 3D visualisation solutions to various industries, primarily automotive. The startup has serviced brands like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej, Greenply and Somany Ceramics.
Amit Jain, co-founder and CEO, GirnarSoft, says,
Visual experience is an important element in assessing a car or bike. Volob has proven expertise in the virtual content. With this acquisition we aim at amplifying the visual experience of car buyers in both real and virtual settings.
The company says that CarDekho has been working on developing virtual and augmented reality solutions to help users make better car buying decisions. They recently launched ‘Feel the Car,’ an online tool that gives 360 degree interior/exterior views with sounds of the car and explanations of features with videos.
The company had previously acquired Drishya360s, a premier photography and video production firm to develop its virtual reality framework.
Volob is GirnarSoft’s eighth deal in the last two years. It has acquired Connecto, Help on Wheels, Zigwheels.com, Gaadi.com and BuyingIQ. CarDekho acquired Times Internet-owned Zigwheels last year and Gaadi from Ibobo in the second half of 2014. The company has also incubated and invested in CollegeDekho.
In 2013, the company raised $15 million from Sequoia Capital. In January 2015, it secured a $50-million funding, in a round led by Chinese funds Hillhouse Capital and Tybourne Capital, after which its valuation stood at about $300 million. This year, it secured a $15-million funding, in a round led by Google Capital, Hillhouse Capital and some existing investors. Ratan Tata and HDFC Bank have also invested in the Jaipur-based company.
The six-year-old company claims to enable 25 percent of the sales of organised, dealer-driven used cars. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are top three markets for Cardekho. “Demand from Tier-II and III cities have been picking up gradually. Cities like Jaipur, Indore, Rajkot and Guwahati are driving decent business for us,” says Amit.
While the used-car segment is touted to hold massive opportunity, the new-car segment contributes to 80 percent of Cardekho’s business. Amit says that used-car segment is going to be big in the coming years and we have been launching a slew of features to assist users in evaluating crucial check and balances of used four-wheelers.
In used-car segment, Cartrade is the direct competitor. This year, it raised a massive $145 million from Temasek, March Capital and from existing investor Warburg Pincus. In 2015, online automobile classifieds had consolidated to a great extent and the battle for the automobile classifieds crown was primarily waged between CarDekho and CarTrade. Besides, horizontal classifieds major Quikr increased its focus on automobiles vertical and launched Quikr Cars last year.
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