/ Malaysia's Unicorn CARSOME Open To New Funding, Open To Dual-Listing
Southeast Asia’s largest car e-commerce platform Carsome is open to new funding from potential strategic investors, its co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng told Reuters.
Cheng said the company is looking for strategic investors whose “businesses are able to add value to what we are doing, be it on car trading, financing or insurance.”
He told Reuters on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore. Last year, Carsome has won one of Malaysia’s first batch of digital bank licenses, as part of the consortium led by KAF Investment Bank. Cheng earlier told TNGlobal that the consortium plans to launch its digital bank as early as year-end or early next year.
Carsome is ready for an initial public offering (IPO) but is in no rush to list, Cheng told Reuters.
“We haven’t really set a right timeline or window,” he said, adding the company was also open to a dual-listing.
“We need exchanges that appreciate the business that we’re building,” he was quoted as saying. “We need that exchange to be able to also provide enough liquidity.”
Carsome was valued at $1.7 billion in its fund-raising round early last year, when it completed its $290 million Series E round. The financing round then was jointly led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), 65 Equity Partners (65EP) and Seatown Private Capital Master Fund (Seatown). The round also saw participation from investors such as Mediatek, Sunway, Gokongwei Group, YTL Group, and Taiwan Mobile.
The Malaysia-headquartered unicorn has hit operational profitability in the first quarter of this year and is expected to achieve its first group-wide profit or break-even before year-end, Cheng reportedly said.
Carsome has become Malaysia’s first tech unicorn as part of a share-swap deal that take a stake in iCar Asia in July 2021.
Founded in 2015, Carsome has expanded into Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and recently in the Philippines. It works with 20,000 dealers and has an average of 15 million monthly visitors across its platforms, according to its website.
In Southeast Asia, Carsome competes with Singapore-based Carro, Indonesia’s OLX Auto and Carousell Auto Group.
Carsome is said to be delaying its dual listing plans in Singapore and the US on concerns that deteriorating macroeconomic conditions could dent its valuation, Bloomberg reported in June last year. The tech unicorn was expected to raise about $300-400 million at a valuation of about $2 billion for the IPO on NASDAQ, according to earlier reports then.