Catcha Group-owned iCar Asia, which operates various automotive portals including Carlist.my and  LiveLifeDrive.com in Malaysia, has raised AU$25.5 million (US$19.3 million) in a mix of equity funding and venture debt from a group of undisclosed investors.

The ASX-listed iCar Asia will use the investment to accelerate growth, increase product development and operations, optimise new car and used car platforms, and improve mobile app functionality to drive user engagement.

The funding will also be channelled towards investing in sales and operations to support the rollout of the transactional new car business. As part of this proposition, iCar Asia will look at expanding into adjacent market segments, including auto finance, insurance, inspection and warranty services.

With this, iCar’s total investments raised to date has reached US$41 million. Previously, it raised US$13.2 million through share placement in September last year, and US$18 million in funding in 2014.

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“With the additional investment, we will also be looking at increasing the number of car shows such as the Luxury Drive, Hot Deals Carnival and sales events to build transaction volumes across both new and used car platforms,” said Hamish Stone, CEO of iCar Asia.

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, iCar Asia currently owns seven automotive portals across three countries — Carlist.my and LiveLifeDrive.com in Malaysia; Mobil123.com and Otospirit.com in Indonesia; and One2Car.com, Autospinn.com and Thaicar.com in Thailand.

The firm claims it reaches over 8 million car buyers and sellers in Southeast Asia every month.

iCar Asia CEO Hamish Stone

iCar Asia CEO Hamish Stone

iCar Asia uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to aid the customer when buying a car. “In Malaysia, we recently launched a completely fresh new car section, including a chatbot named Ari. Its mission is to assist new car buyers in getting the most relevant information and the best deals in town,” Stone added.

iCar’s parent Catcha Group also owns iProperty Group, REVAsia, iflix, Fronteir Digital Ventures, and Kuala Lumpur Internet City.