Rocket Internet’s Carmudi raises $10M to refocus on Asia following global retrenchment

Carmudi, a Rocket Internet-backed company that sells cars online in emerging markets, has raised $10 million to develop its business in Southeast Asia after reducing its global footprint.

The company was formed in 2013 and, at peak, it grew to cover over 20 markets across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. To support that global push, Carmudi raised $10 million in 2014 and then a further $25 million via its Series B round in 2015.

Fast forward to today, however, and the business has retrenched to focus on just three countries: Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Its Africa-based services were swallowed up by Jumia, a billion-dollar online commerce firm with links to Rocket Internet. It remains present in Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and Vietnam, but these services are controlled individually or by Rocket-backed operations outside of Carmudi, according to Carmudi CEO Pranjal Kanwar.

Kanwar, who joined last year, said the company decided to “refocus on the markets performing best for us.” She added that she wasn’t aware of the precise ownership details of other Carmudi sites. It seems possible that, as was the case with Rocket Internet’s Zalora business in Southeast Asia, those properties may be sold off.

The change of focus has seen Carmudi move its headquarters in Jakarta — it was previously stationed out of Berlin, Rocket HQ — and build teams for tech, marketing and other roles locally in Jakarta.

Despite a narrowing geographical focus, Carmudi has expanded its service beyond merely classified listings for used vehicles. The company now includes sales of new cars and it has begun to offer finance packages in Indonesia alongside banking partners.

The immediate goal is to focus on its existing markets, and Indonesia in particular.

“Indonesia already is so vast, our target to double down on this country,” Kanwar said. “We’re successfully present in six to eight cities and want to expand to others.”

The Carmudi CEO said also she intends to double the company’s revenues in Indonesia. Carmudi claims to have over 100,000 vehicle listings, which it says attract more than five million monthly visitors. It didn’t disclose sales or revenue numbers.

The new funding was raised incrementally over the past year from serial Rocket Internet allies Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures. Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG) — the joint venture operated by Rocket Internet and Qatari operator Ooredoo — also participated.

Carmudi may be focusing on its strongest markets, but it is up against some serious competition in Indonesia. The country is Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the world’s fourth most populous country with over 260 million people. That makes it an important part of the region. E-commerce in Southeast Asia is tipped to grow to $88.1 billion by 2025 with Indonesia the largest single contributing country.

Rival BeliMobilGue this week raised $3.7 million ahead of a larger round in the coming months, while Carro and iCar Asia are among others in the space with significant venture capital backing.