Rocket Internet-Backed Car Listings Site Carmudi Raises $25M To Fuel Growth In Asia And Mexico

Carmudi, a car classifieds site that focuses on emerging markets, announced today that it has raised $25 million to gear up its operations in Mexico and several Asian countries. This round, Carmudi’s second, includes Asia Pacific Internet Group (a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Ooredoo), Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures, as well as an undisclosed private investor.

This brings the total Carmudi has raised so far to $35 million. Its last funding round was in April 2014. The company, which was founded in 2013 and now operates in 20 countries, will use the funds to expand in seven Asian markets (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam) as well as Mexico.

The company’s other markets are spread throughout Africa and the Middle East and include Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, and Zambia.

Carmudi co-founder and global managing director Stefan Haubold says that the company plans to add more countries to its roster, but hasn’t decided which ones yet. Its latest round will be used to invest in product technology, in particular making its mobile app easier to use, and scaling up operations in Asia and Mexico.

The site currently has a total of 300,000 listings for vehicles worldwide, and claims five million users a month. Carmudi’s Android apps were rolled out last year, and it launched a iOS version earlier this month.

Carmudi’s mobile apps have been downloaded 300,000 times so far. In total, mobile visits now account for about 60 percent to 70 percent of its total traffic, which is important because the company is targeting markets where many users access the Internet primarily through smartphones or tablets.

Haubold claims that Carmudi is now the top car classifieds site in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. In Asia, alternatives to Carmudi’s service include local car listings and classifieds sites in each market. Haubold says his company differentiates through its mobile apps, which let buyers upload photos and descriptions of their cars; services like loan calculators; and inventory sweeps that clear out listings after a certain length of time (60 days for most listings and 45 for ones placed by dealerships) so buyers see fresh inventory.

In some Southeast Asia markets, Carmudi’s rivals include iCar Asia, which grew last year by making acquisitions of smaller car classified sites in Thailand and Indonesia. Haubold does not consider iCar Asia a competitor, however, because Carmudi has newer listings and operates in markets that do not overlap with iCar Asia.

Carmudi monetizes through listing fees, but is currently focused on expansion and growth, says Haubold.

Rocket Internet has been busy building a network of e-commerce services and marketplaces throughout Southeast Asia, including many (real estate classifieds platform Lamudi, price comparison site Pricepanda, and car-calling app Easy Taxi) included in the Asia Pacific Internet Group’s portfolio. This creates online and offline (in the case of logistics) networks that may eventually help each individual startup scale up faster.