Carousell raises US$100m, enters unicorn club at US$1.1b valuation

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CAROUSELL has joined the unicorn club. The Singapore-based online classifieds startup on Wednesday raised US$100 million in fresh funds that valued it at US$1.1 billion, making it the city-state's latest tech startup to be worth more than a billion dollars.

The fund-raise was led by South Korean private equity firm STIC, and bumped up Carousell's valuation slightly from the US$900 million recorded in its previous round last year.

The city-state has seen more unicorns popping up on its shores this year, as it positions itself to capture South-east Asia's rising tech wave. Other newly-minted members in Singapore's growing unicorn club include IP analytics startup PatSnap, fintech company Nium and car marketplace Carro. Like Carousell, some of these companies have benefited from the surge of online activity and transactions on their platform amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Carousell is also said to be considering a public listing in the United States through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Bloomberg reported in June. US SPAC or not, an exit could materialise for Carousell soon. Regulatory filings indicate that the Singapore-based company aims to provide its investors with an exit by 2024, at a valuation of at least US$1.13 billion.

The company, which has a platform that allows users to buy and sell items ranging from clothes to houses, plans to spend the money on "deepening its investments" across more categories of pre-owned goods and markets, said co-founder and chief-executive Quek Siu Rui. It is also exploring acquisitions to scale up the business.

Carousell has been busy. In April, it ventured into the highly competitive space of used-car sales, where it said it has plans to invest aggressively in. The company cited this vertical, as its largest one, contributing a third of revenue. Other more established used-car marketplaces include unicorns Carro and Carsome.

Founded in 2012, Carousell has a presence in eight markets across South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Its growing investor list includes names such as Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver and Sequoia Capital India. The startup said it currently has "tens of millions" of monthly active users.

READ MORE: Carousell aims for exit within 4 years, possibly at value of US$1.1b or more

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