Carousell, a C2C mobile marketplace that makes selling as simple as taking a photo, has raised S$1 million in seed funding. The funding will enable the company to expand its product and community teams in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia and Indonesia on top in the priority list.
Carousell was launched in August 2012 after winning Startup Weekend Singapore. Earlier in June, this year, e27 had strongly suggested that investors should bet big on Carousell, because of its huge industry potential, the high liquidity on its platform, along with a strong community of users.
Having said that, the team however, is tight-lipped on how the company is doing in terms of traction.
Carousell though claims that on average, a user opens the app 10 times a day and spends about 25 minutes on it daily. In comparison, a Facebook user opens the app 14 times a day and uses it for 30 minutes daily. There are over a million listings in the Carousell marketplace, and over 20% of that end up getting purchased.
“We found that the mobile-ﬁrst approach is the future. Our focus on mobile has attracted a young demography mainly in the 16-34 years old age group, who are absolutely hooked to Carousell,” said Quek Siu Rui, Co-founder, Carousell, who oversees product and customer support.
The company refused to disclose the total number of downloads for Carousell and the number of its active users. A quick search on Google Play Store, however, revealed that it’s download numbers on the Android platform is between 50,000 and 100,000.
Led by Rakuten Ventures, the funding will be used primarily on hiring engineers as well as community managers.
“There is an entire generation of Internet users that will leapfrog the desktop computer and come online through the smartphone. The ﬁrst apps they are going to use are the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If they want to buy or sell something online, they are going to expect an experience that is equally simple, intuitive and fun to use. Carousell is in the best position to ﬁll that need. The team has spent more than a year reﬁning its product and understanding its users, and has in place an exciting pipeline of innovative features. Rakuten Ventures is truly honoured to lead this round and provide a bedrock of opportunity for the team of ultra-talented founders,” said Sae Min Ahn, Managing Partner of Rakuten Ventures’ investment arm.
While Rakuten Ventures might seem like a strategic investor leading the round, Carousell told e27 that Rakuten Ventures is purely bringing in financial value to the team, and there will not be any secondary value such as syndicating Carousell’s listings onto the Japanese e-commerce giant platform.
Other than Rakuten Ventures, Danny Wirianto and 500 Startups are also part of the syndicate, which invested in Carousell. The Carousell team told e27 that it is excited to have the support of “A-list investors” who believed in the company’s vision and execution ability.
“Besides having Rakuten Ventures, the world’s third largest e-commerce marketplace company behind us, every individual in the investor group brings to the table product expertise and his experience in building successful businesses at scale. We’re excited to also have Khailee Ng who built and sold an e-commerce company to Groupon, and Danny Oei Wirianto who was then Chief Marketing Ofﬁcer and part of the team that grew Kaskus into Indonesia’s largest online community, advise us on our Malaysia and Indonesia expansion respectively,” said Lucas Ngoo, Co-founder of Carousell who is eagerly looking forward to bring Carousell to fellow Malaysians.
What this means that the team will be focusing on the Indonesia market next, alongside Singapore and Malaysia. The team will have just the Singapore office for now, with remote community teams in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Golden Gate Ventures on the other hand, has been mentoring the Carousell trio through NUS Enterprise, the venture arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), which has been supporting the team since founding Carousell during their time at the university. Golden Gate Ventures’ venture partners Vinnie Lauria and Jeffrey Paine, were also the mentors and judges for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012, where the Carousell team emerged as the winner over the 54 hour hackathon.