A consortium led by South Korean online platform operator Naver Corp., invested 94 billion won (US$80 million) into Singapore-based classified-ads platform Carousell. The fresh capital injection brings the Singapore-based company one step closer to becoming a unicorn, as the deal valued the company at over 1 trillion won (US$900 million).
Carousell said that the consortium also included Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund and NH Investment & Securities. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse acted as the company’s exclusive financial adviser for the deal.
However, Carousell did not disclose whether the investment comprised equity, debt or both.
“We highly look forward to working closely with Carousell.”
– Jung An Lee, Naver’s head of investments
Jung believes that Carousell’s efforts focusing on the community and products would further strengthen its position as a market leader. He added that the company’s excellent platform enabled people to transact more efficiently and effectively.
Quek Siu Rui, Co-founder and CEO of Carousell, said that the investment deal with Naver is a “vote of confidence,” as the company focuses on making transactions more straightforward, practical, and more inspiring.
A Step Closer to Unicorn Status
Established in August 2012, Carousell initially operated in Singapore buying and selling new and used goods. The company now has over 250 million listings across eight markets in Asia, including Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The platform’s marketplace contains a wide variety of product categories such as gadgets, cars, fashion accessories, and real estate.
In April 2019, Carousell received 65.7 billion won (US$56 million) from OLX Group. In November of the same year, the startup achieved a valuation of 997.5 billion won (US$850 million) after acquiring 701Search, formerly a unit of Norwegian telco Telenor Group and OLX Philippines.
Carousell also owns and operates Revo Financial in Singapore, Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam, and OneKyat in Myanmar.
Quek said that they launched several regional initiatives to aid affected individuals and businesses across all markets during the pandemic. The programs included the #ChoosetoGive campaign which allowed the community to donate free items to users in need. The company also provided free adds valued at 2.3 billion won (US$2 million) to non-profit organizations.
Additionally, Carousell collaborated with various government agencies such as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Hong Kong Productivity Council, and Enterprise Singapore to support the digitalization of micro-enterprises and SMEs.