In one of the largest fund-raising rounds for the city in 2016, the Singapore-based P2P mobile marketplace Carousell announced today it has raised a US$35 million Series B.
The deal was led by Rakuten Ventures with participation from Sequoia India, Golden Gate Ventures and 500 startups.
Rakuten Ventures and Golden Gate were some of the earliest investors in the company, kicking off a S$1 million (US$745,000) round in 2013. Sequoia India and 500 Startups came on board for the US$6 million Series A in 2014.
“We will remain focused on nurturing a vibrant Carousell community, and use the latest technology to offer them an intuitive user experience,” said Siu Rui Quek, Co-founder and CEO of Carousell in an official statement.
“Some of the areas we’ve been improving include discoverability so that it’s easier for users to find just what they need, community features like Carousell Groups to bring our users closer together, and under the hood improvements for a more enjoyable experience,” he added.
The company is operating in 13 cities including a recent launch in Hong Kong.
While Carousell does face stiff competition in the vertical — specifically from the Garena-built P2P mobile marketplace Shopee — it benefits from having a ‘first-mover’ advantage and has its roots in the early days of the Singapore startup scene when it started in 2012.
The company claims 35 million listings with more than 70 listings per minutes. It also compares its engagement favourably with major mobile apps such as Instagram — pointing out that both have an average engagement rate of 17 minutes per day.
For Rakuten, the investment ends a degree of speculation about how it would move forward with its Singapore investment after it pulled a significant chunk of its resources out of the Southeast Asian region this spring.
“When RV (Rakuten Ventures) first invested in Carousell, it was a scrappy and hungry group of founders determined to change the way people transact with one another in the 21st century. We now see their vision and this want for interaction shared by vast groups of people not only in Singapore but also in countries like Indonesia, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” said Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner of Rakuten Ventures, in a statement.
People can sell a variety of objects on Carousell such as cars, lifestyle, gadgets, and fashion accessories.