Freshly minted mobile classifieds startup Carousell is officially on the prowl — and Southeast Asia’s struggling startups are on the menu.
The Singapore-based company closed a $35 million Series B in August and it has been on a relentless deadpool scouting mission since then. This week it bought the assets of Malaysian rival Duriana in an undisclosed transaction that represents its third piecemeal M&A deal since that fundraising.
An influx of capital over the past few years has left a number of startups in Southeast Asia that were able to raise seed or Series A money unable to move to the next level of development. That, in turn, is presenting opportunities for inorganic growth via acquisition for better funded players in the market, such as Carousell.
Duriana is one such case. It had raised more than $3 million from investors to date, according to Crunchbase, but this is the end for its two-year-old service. Carousell confirmed that it is only acquiring the company’s base of 600,000 registered users, most of whom are located in Malaysia with some in the Philippines. No staff or other assets will transfer over.
In that respect, the transaction price is said to be considerably less than the capital raised by Duriana, according to one source close to negotiations. A Carousell rep declined to comment when we asked how much it has paid for Duriana.
Carousell is present in seven countries in Asia, across which it claims to have sold 23 million items. CEO Quek Siu Rui said he did the deal because Carousell recognized that its lesser-rival “had similar demographics and interests in buying and selling fashion items” and that can widen its userbase.
Previously, Carousell snagged half-a-dozen developers from female-focused safety app Watch Over Me in an acquihire deal, while it also consumed automotive classifieds startup Caarly to broaden its focus into car sales.
Despite raising significant funding from investors, Carousell is under pressure from Garena, the multi-billion dollar games firm that is eying a U.S. IPO and pumping considerable funds into Shopee, its own take on social commerce. While Shopee is less than a year-old, Garena has trumpeted impressive (but certainly premature) transaction figures for the service — I discussed these with Garena President Nick Nash in an interview last year — which are sure to be of concern to Carousell.