Singapore-based peer-to-peer mobile marketplace Carousell today secured US$6 million in a Series A investment round led by Sequoia Capital in India, with participation from existing investors Rakuten Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, 500 Startups and 99.co entrepreneur Darius Cheung.
According to an official statement, the new funds will be used to speed up existing international expansion plans to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Though, the app is already available in those markets, a lot needs to be done to raise awareness amongst consumers. The report did not specify the number of users on Carousell, be it in respective markets or collectively.
It had previously raised US$800,000 in a seed round led by Rakuten Ventures. Back then, the money was said to be used for entering markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
“We’re on a mission to make online buying and selling accessible to everyone,” said Quek Siu Rui, Co-founder, Carousell. He added, “If you know how to snap a photo or send a text message using a smartphone, you essentially know how to buy and sell on Carousell.”
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The company will also be looking to grow its engineering, product and community teams. It is unclear how big the team is right now, and how big Carousell would like to grow it to.
UPDATE: According to the three Co-founders, the startup will be hiring backend, growth and web engineers in order to not stretch the current team of six engineers. “Kudos to them (the current team of six) for taking on the herculean task of scaling with the rapid growth in the past year,” they said.
At the moment, Carousell has a headcount of 12 full-timers and 11 part-timers and interns. The Co-founders are expecting to lead a team of 20 full-timers in the next six months.
However, the report did note that over eight million listings have been created on Carousell since its launch in 2012. Furthermore, to date, more than two million items have been listed as ‘sold’ on the platform. Users are also actively browsing on Carousell, if not buying or selling, as the company sees an average user spending about 21 minutes a day engaging with the app.
UPDATE: Carousell’s biggest market is still Singapore, while its second biggest is Malaysia. “We are currently focusing on growing in the Malaysia and Indonesia markets before launching in Taiwan by the end of this year,” said the Co-founders in a joint statement to e27. Additionally, the company might expand to other markets, which it will decide by Q1 2015.
“We take a community-first approach to the markets we launch in,” said the Co-founders. “We find that is important to build trust amongst a loyal group of sellers, and to show them that we are absolutely committed to their success and happiness on the platform.”
Going forward, there will definitely be more meetups and events in markets important to Carousell. “Partnerships usually follow once we have a strong base of sellers and listings,” they added.
As the year comes to an end, the trio also told e27 about what the company will accomplish in 2015.
Firstly, it will add more improvements to the app itself to simplify the process of buying and selling. Secondly, it will further engage its users to understand inconveniences and what they should be improving on. Thirdly, it will aim to make discovery an easier and smoother process; next week, Carousell users will be able to discover relevant items curated by its community team. Lastly, the startup is looking to launch a web version of Carousell to make the service even more accessible.
“Carousell is one of the most exciting young companies we have encountered recently,” said Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors. That statement rings true, as Carousell remains one of the most talked about startups in Southeast Asia.
For the record, Sequoia Capital’s investment in Carousell was made from the newly-launched Sequoia Capital India IV fund, which was raised in April 2014.