The Carsome team

Kuala Lumpur-based automobile portal Carsome announced today it has raised US$350,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups and Malaysian company Idea River Run.

According to an official statement, the money will be used to expand the company’s regional presence.

Co-founder and CEO Eric Cheng expressed excitement and relief at the investment. “We were bootstrapped from the beginning, so keeping the cost low has been really a challenge for us,” said Cheng. “Our savings were used for the initial cash injection and to build the first version of the website. That helped us carry through the first few months. With this funding, we will expand the team to help us grow market share,” he told e27.

“We are getting partnerships set up in multiple cities and we will be ready to announce the news in eight weeks’ time,” he said.

Founded in February 2015, the company claims to be serving 150,000 potential car buyers every month and has partnerships with 100 dealers in Malaysia.

Also Read: Cut out the broker and Zoom(o) to the pre-owed car of your choice

Carsome allows car buyers in Malaysia to compare prices from up to five models and find various dealers in the country. The startup provides research and an overview of the make and model along with a ‘target price’ quotation. A user then ‘requests offers,’ enters their contact information and will eventually get a maximum of five proposals from around the area.

The company also advertises a selling platform in which a trained inspector offers a valuation of the car, and if the seller agrees with the price, Carsome facilitates the sale.

Also See: Why light electric vehicles will outpace cars before you know it

Those familiar with the global startup ecosystem will recognise the business model from the American company Beepi and 500 Startups Managing Partner Khailee Ng said that is exactly why it invested in the company.

“The Carsome team is the first to introduce a globally successful business model in the Southeast Asia market,” Ng said.

Cheng founded the company with Teoh Jiun Ee. They worked together at online marketing platform Innity.