Last Monday, Rocket Internet-backed real estate listings platform Lamudi announced that it has raised US$7 million to boost operations in Asia. The funds, which were reported to have come from Tengelmann Ventures, the investment arm of German retailer Tengelmann Group, would be used to help Lamudi become the market leader in Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Just last night, another Rocket Internet company, online car classifieds startup, Carmudi, announced that it has secured around US$10 million from a range of investors, including Tengelmann Ventures, which will be used to “become the number one online vehicle marketplace in Asia”. Its markets in Asia are Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Stefan Haubold, Co-founder and Global Managing Director, Carmudi said, “Eventually, I envision Carmudi to be a one-stop shop for all car-related topics — be it car reviews, news, tips or simple advice.” He launched the company in 2013, and has seen it grow to reach 100,000 listings globally.
This could be seen as a positive effect of many Rocket Internet-backed companies bearing fruit from operations in the emerging markets of Asia — ones where there aren’t clear leaders in various industries like online classifieds. However, is this a good thing? Wouldn’t the large investments mean nipping competition in the bud? Should entrepreneurs stay away from these lush green fields just because Rocket Internet-backed startups have a tonne of resources?
UPDATE: In conversation with e27, Haubold noted that there are 20,000 listings added to Carmudi every month in Asia. He then added that there are 40,000 new listings on the platform each month globally.
He added, “We are already (scaling up and growing operations in Asia), having started with sheer 1,500 listings in Pakistan in January, we have skyrocketed to 15,000 listings today. We are partnering with all the major players in the market.”
What are some unique challenges that Carmudi has faced in Asia? Haubold explained that customer acquisition still remains as the most challenging task. “At the end of the day, it is a people’s business,” he said, “It is about executing a proven business model and making it successful in a short space of time.”