[Funding alert] MS Dhoni invests in Series D round of CARS24

As part of this investment, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will own equity in online marketplace CARS24, and will act as its brand ambassador.

Gurugram-based CARS24, an online marketplace for buying and selling used cars, announced a strategic partnership with international cricketer and former captain of the Indian national team Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This is to elevate and strengthen the brand as it continues to expand across markets. 

As part of this partnership, MS Dhoni will own equity in CARS24 and will act as the startup's brand ambassador. The investment is a part of its Series D round of funding

Mahendra Singh Dhoni said

“I am thrilled to be part of the CARS24 journey. Besides being a fan of all things to do with cars, I am also a fan of new-age companies that are disruptive, innovative and shaping the future. CARS24 is definitely one of these companies. They have big ambitions and I am excited to work with them and help them achieve their goals.” 

Founded in 2015 by FabFurnish founders Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agrawal, CARS24 follows a customer-to-business (C2B) model. It buys cars from individuals and sells them to dealers. Unlike a classified platform, CARS24 enables end-to-end transactions and charges a commission for each transaction.

The company has recently announced its foray into the franchise model and intends to scale up its presence in 300+ Tier-II, III, and IV markets by 2021. 

Vikram Chopra, Co-founder and CEO, Cars24 said, 

“We are very excited to welcome Mahi into the CARS24 family. His ability to constantly evolve, innovate and find solutions to every problem thrown at him over the years have made him the most celebrated captain in the Indian history. It’s the same values that we live by at CARS24 and, therefore, the partnership felt natural and perfect. We also share a common love for cars which makes this even more special.” 

In April 2019, the startup secured a funding of Rs 77.58 crore from its Singapore parent Global Car Group, and its valuation was estimated at $250 million.

Besides online, the company also has an offline presence with 155 branches across 35+ cities in India. It is backed by some of the marquee investors like Sequoia India, Exor Seeds (a venture fund affiliated with one of the world’s leading holding companies controlled by the Agnelli Family), partners of DST Global, Kingsway Capital (London based multi-billion-dollar fund), and KCK (Silicon Valley and New York based investment firm). 

“We already have a huge customer base in the used car industry and plan to engage them further by offering our services from 1,000+ branches in the next few years. We believe that our association with one of India’s finest cricketers Dhoni will go a long way in helping us create awareness about the brand and its offerings,” added Gajendra Jangid, Co-founder and CMO of CARS24. 

Cars24 competes with companies like CarDekho, Droom, Quikr Auto, Olx, CarTrade, and NDTV Auto.

Earlier this year, CarDekho raised Series C funding of $110 million from Sequoia India, Hillhouse, CapitalG (Alphabet growth investment arm) and Axis Bank. 

In June 2019, Droom received $10 million in Series F round of funding from its Singapore-based holding entity.

In May this year, Gurugram-based used car retailing startup Spinny also received $13.2 million in Series A funding round led by Accel and SAIF Partners with participation from existing investors Blume Ventures and Simile Ventures.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)