The Tech Portal - Singapore

Shopping app Carousell raises $35 million to widen its user base globally

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Online marketplace Carousell has raised US$35 million in its series B funding round. This is by far one of the largest series B rounds raised in the mobile classifieds space. The investment was led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Ventures. It also saw participation of Sequoia India, Golden Gate Ventures and 500 Startups.

The additional capital will accelerate Carousell’s growth into new markets around the world and bolster its product and engineering teams, strengthening its position as one of the largest and fastest growing mobile classifieds marketplaces.

Launched in May 2012, Carousell is a mobile app that allows users to buy and sell a broad variety of items on an online marketplace, ranging from beauty products, fashion, lifestyle gadgets to furniture and home appliances. It facilitates buyers who are interested to message them to inquire more.

Carousell’s co-founder and CEO Quek Siu Rui said,

We most recently launched in Hong Kong in June 2016. As of now, we are in 13 major cities (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, Taipei, Tainan, Taoyuan, Taichung, Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Jakarta, Bandung, Hong Kong).

However he chose to remain tight lipped about the next cities the company wants to launch itself. It has 90 employees working globally and recently appointed formerly Airbnb’s managing director of Southeast Asia – Chai Jia Jih as its vice-president, international, to  work on its global expansion plans. However, the company has no plans to go public. Quek commenting on the same said,

There are no plans to go public at present as Carousell is focused on improving our product and growing our global presence. We want to concentrate our efforts on building the simplest and most inspiring community marketplace, where people can buy, sell, and connect with one another.

The startup was ranked the top app in the Lifestyle and Shopping categories in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong by Forbes. Other competitors also include many unofficial user-created Facebook groups that offer a similar peer-to-peer selling platform.

To stand out from the competition, Carousell puts emphasis on speed. Quek said it took as little as 30 seconds to post a listing on the marketplace and users can communicate within the app, eliminating the need for messaging apps or emails. He further explained that they are working on a solution for a massive problem which itself shows a real need for innovation in marketplace that have traditionally only served the desktop internet users community.

Rakuten Ventures’ managing partner, Saemin Ahn, said in a statement,

When Rakuten Ventures first invested in Carousell, it was a scrappy and hungry group of founders determined to change the way people transact with one another in the 21st century … we now see their vision and this want for interacted shared by vast groups of people not only in Singapore, but also in countries like Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

With more than 35 million listings on the platform as of June 2016 and more than 70 listings made per minute, the startup is  the first mobile classifieds app in the Asia-Pacific region.


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