Carousell prepares to monetize after acquiring automotive classifieds startup

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Singapore-based Carousell has complete its second piece of M&A following the Craigslist-like mobile commerce company’s $35 million Series B round in August.

Today, it announced it has acquired Caarly, a fellow Singaporean company that operates a classifieds service for used cars. The deal is undisclosed like Carousell’s September acquisition of safety app Watch Over Me, but this time the purchase is less about bringing on talent since there’s a strategic element to it. In addition to taking on its 11 staff, Carousell has acquired Caarly’s “relevant” automotive products which its CEO Quek Siu Rui told TechCrunch “paves the way for a monetisation strategy.”

“We’re focused on building revenue streams using high-value verticals starting with cars, while concurrently enhancing the experience of buying and selling on Carousell for our users,” Quek said via email.

“Carousell has grown over the last 4.5 years, and so have our users. Over 50 percent of them in Singapore are now over 25 years old, and have significantly more purchasing power. We’ve seen how their evolving needs have resulted in more listings and greater demand in higher value verticals like cars,” he added via a public statement.

To give further shape to that monetization push, Carousell has hired former Komli Media exec Rakesh Malani as its CFO. That’s a move that Quek said will help Carousell begin making money in the early part of 2017. To date, the company has not monetized its product, instead relying on the $40 million-plus that it has raised from its investors, which include Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and Sequoia.

Also joining the startup is Winnie Khoo, former MD of PropertyGuru. Earlier this year, Carousell nabbed another prominent executive in the form of ex-Airbnb Southeast Asia lead JJ Chai who is tasked with overseeing its international expansion plans.

Initially, Carousell will use Caarly’s business in Singapore — which is the only market where the younger startup had been present and Carousell’s largest base of users — but Quek indicated that there are expansion plans for its fledgling automotive business.

“Singapore is our most mature market, and its infrastructure and diversity make it an ideal testbed for our projects and experiments. We intend to use our learnings from Caarly in Singapore, to explore opportunities in other markets,” he said.

Carousell is currently present in six countries — Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia — across which it claims to have handled a total of 41 million listings and 19 million transactions to date.

Two-year-old Caarly’s only fundraising activity was an undisclosed round in 2015 that included participation from Wavemaker Partners.