[Funding alert] CarDekho raises $250M in pre-IPO round, reaches unicorn status with $1.2B valuation

New unicorn CarDekho will use funds to accelerate growth in the used car transactions, financial services and insurance businesses, build robust product and technology functions, increase brand awareness, and expand into new markets.
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Jaipur-headquartered automobile classifieds platform CarDekho on Wednesday announced that it has raised $250 million round of funding, including $200 million Series E equity and $50 million debt in its pre-IPO round.

With the latest fundraising, CarDekho joins the unicorn club with a valuation of $ 1.2 billion and becomes the first unicorn based in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The funding round was led by LeapFrog Investments, a global impact investor focused on financial services and healthcare access.

LeapFrog will support the company’s plans to deliver quality and affordable vehicles, insurance, and finance to millions of new emerging consumers. Improved mobility remains a proven driver of access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.

Other new investors who participated included US-based Canyon Partners, Mirae Asset, and Harbor Spring Capital. CarDekho’s existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Sunley House invested further, reaffirming their confidence in the company.

According to the company statement, it is the largest ever fundraise by CarDekho and the proceeds will be used to accelerate CarDekho’s growth in the used car transactions, financial services and insurance businesses, build robust product and technology functions, increase brand awareness, and expand into new markets.

Amit Jain, Co-founder and CEO CarDekho, said, “CarDekho, from being a car research portal, has evolved to become a complete ecosystem for car buying, lifecycle management, and selling. We are committed to empowering our customers and providing them with a convenient and hassle-free experience. The new fundraise will help us expand our used car transactions and financial services businesses. The trust and conviction of our investors will help us to accelerate our growth plans whilst we provide our customers with an experience that will continue to re-define car buying and selling.”

Rapid growth trajectory

CarDekho works actively with 3,500+ new auto dealers and 4,000+ used car dealers, homegrown traders, and entrepreneurs. It collaborates with 14+ financial institutions and 40+ insurance companies to facilitate used car finance and insurance, providing a seamless experience to both used car buyers and sellers.

CarDekho’s digital platforms, ‘New Auto’, and its financial services businesses are already profitable and its insurance business, InsuranceDekho.com, has crossed the breakeven point, it stated.

Commenting on the investment, Stewart Langdon, Partner and Co-Head of South Asian Investments, LeapFrog Investments, said,

“Amit and the team have done an outstanding job in building the leading digital platform in India’s auto-tech market. We expect the business to continue on its rapid growth trajectory, thanks to the calibre of the team and the extraordinary tailwinds this segment now enjoys from increasing formalisation, digitisation, and transparency.

"CarDekho is an outstanding platform for large scale social impact, already making vehicles more accessible, affordable and trustworthy for over three million emerging consumers. Improving access to mobility in this way will help to drive development in other key areas, such as healthcare and education.”

Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director, Sequoia India, said, “Amit, Anurag, and the team at Cardekho have built a business that has far exceeded our initial expectations. Several of their business units hold leadership positions, and are now building further expertise in the used cars and financial services space where they are strongly positioned. The team at Sequoia India continues to be strong believers in their long-term success.”

“We are thrilled to continue our support of CarDekho and their mission to be the leading retail auto and financial services provider in Southeast Asia. Since our initial investment, the company has had tremendous growth, establishing itself as the largest tech-auto platform in India. We are confident that this new investment will enable CarDekho to accelerate its growth in the auto retail market while capitalizing on the sizeable addressable market in auto insurance,” added Abhinav Sharman, Director, Sunley House Capital.

Numis and Credit Suisse acted as the financial advisors to CarDekho.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai