CARRO is a privately held car marketplace that offers an online platform for buying and selling cars through pricing algorithms and AI-enabled capabilities. Headquartered in Singapore, the company is the largest used car marketplace in Southeast Asia and recently received its unicorn status in 2021. The startup is valued at more than US$1 billion, with a presence in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
CARRO is the first company in Singapore to launch a subscription-based car service as well as the first contactless vehicle purchasing service in the city-state.
CARRO was founded in 2015 by three friends: Aaron Tan, Aditya Lesmana, and Kelvin Chng. Co-founder and CEO, Aaron, was studying in the United States when he witnessed how car buying could be transparent and easy without the middlemen. When he came back home, it was clear to him that there was a lack of the same transparency in Southeast Asia. Thereafter, Tan set out to establish SEA’s largest automotive marketplace, CARRO, and revolutionised how cars are bought and sold in the region.
CARRO began as an online vehicle marketplace before expanding into new verticals. The company's operations are categorised into three groups: fintech, retail, and wholesale. With the help of a pricing algorithm, CARRO enables clients and wholesale companies to purchase and sell cars. It also provides financial services for customers who purchase their second-hand cars.
CARRO started with a S$1 million seed round from angel investors in 2015. In 2016, they raised US$5.3 million to expand their services in the Southeast Asian markets. The round was led by Venturra Capital, Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC Ventures, Skystar Capital, and GMO Venture Partners.
Shortly after, CARRO raised another US$12 million in 2017. In 2018, CARRO further raised US$60 million, which was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Insignia Ventures, and B Capital Group. The round closed in 2019 with a further raise of US$30 million.
The online startup joined the unicorn startup club in June 2021 on completing a US$360 million funding round that boosted its valuation to US$1 billion. The Series was led by SoftBank Vision, MSIG, and EV Growth.
CARRO is funded by 37 investors. Its recent investors include Celestial Sage International and Simon James Moran.
CARRO presently has operations in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, as well as in Malaysia with its subsidiary company, myTukar. The company has plans to expand its presence to the Philippines and Vietnam in the near future.
CARRO takes the help of technologies like pricing algorithms and AI to replicate the experience of inspecting a vehicle in-person. When a user clicks on a Carro listing, an AI bot immediately interacts with them and provides further information on the car's price. Users can also see a 360-degree view of the vehicle and its interior, and can virtually start the engine to hear how it sounds.
Services and products
CARRO Certified - CARRO Certified is a best-in-class, technology-backed stamp of assurance certification, in all key markets, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Backed by 100% transparency and detailed information, this new certification offers used car buyers the promise of quality and assurance with an extensive report, amongst other guarantees. All CARRO Certified Cars have the following:
- 160-point inspection and report
- No major accident, fire or flood damage
- No mileage tampering
- 5-day money back guarantee
- 12-month warranty on engine and gearbox
In Malaysia, this is known as myTukar Certified.
CARRO LEAP - CARRO LEAP is a leasing service that’s currently only available in Singapore. Dubbed as ‘Netflix for cars’, this service allows customers to pay for car ownership for a period as short as 1 month. They will also be able to continue leasing on a month-to-month basis and swap cars as long as the minimum term is fulfilled. This pay-per-usage service calculates costs based on the mileage customers rack up, and comes with the insurance, road tax, app access, the ability to drive to Malaysia, maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Showroom Anywhere - This service is currently operational only in Singapore and allows customers to test-drive and buy a car without meeting any salesperson. Customers only need to choose a vehicle of their choice via the CARRO app, and a test drive session will be set up for them. Once that has been verified, customers will be given a special pin number to pick up the car keys at the designated location. CARRO cars are parked throughout the city and can be unlocked using QR codes, so the customers can inspect them at any time of the day, without a salesperson around.
Covered - In 2020, CARRO Singapore partnered with NTUC Income to introduce Singapore’s first pay-as-you-drive usage-based car insurance. It is the first artificial intelligence driven pay-per-kilometer insurance and maintenance plan which allows drivers to tailor their insurance premiums and maintenance charges based on their need, giving customers a hassle-free experience that is cost-savvy, more convenient and transparent.
In September 2019, CARRO invested US$30 million in myTukar, and in the same year, acquired Jualo, Indonesia’s e-classified marketplace.
In 2020, the firm partnered with NTUC Income to introduce Singapore’s first pay-as-you-drive usage-based car insurance.
In June 2022, acquired Indonesia’s MPM Rental for US$54 million.
Awards and Milestones
2016: CARRO emerged as one of the finalists for the Emerging Enterprise Award recognised by The Business Times and OCBC Bank
2018: CARRO earned the VC Deal of the Year award given by the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
2020: CARRO won the Silver PR Award for the Best Use of Technology
2021: CARRO came first in the Straits Times’ and Statista’s list of Singapore’s fastest-growing companies. In the same year, it secured the top spot in Nikkei Asia and the Financial Times’ list of high growth companies
In the media
- Lee, Zinnia. "Singapore's Future Decacorn? Carro Has Big Ambitions For The Online Car Market In Southeast Asia". Forbes. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Gilchrist, Karen. "How 3 college friends built a $1 billion business selling used cars". CNBC. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Chiang, Sheila (27 August 2020). "This S'porean Stepped Up A Gear To Grow Carro Into SEA's Largest Car Marketplace In 5 Years". Vulcan Post. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Auto, Hermes (15 June 2021). "Singapore car marketplace Carro raises $478m to become a unicorn, eyes IPO | The Straits Times". www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Southeast Asian car marketplace Carro takes 50% stake in Indonesian rental firm". Reuters. 6 June 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Automotive marketplace Carro hits unicorn status with $360M Series C led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Lee, Zinnia. "Singapore's Car Market Carro Becomes Unicorn With $360 Million Funding Round". Forbes. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". www.techinasia.com. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Automotive marketplace Carro acquires Indonesia's Jualo, extends Series B to $90M". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "CARRO acquires MPM rent in a deal valued at S$150m". CARRO Blog. 6 June 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Carro Bags the VC Deal of the Year Award 2018". CARRO Blog. 9 October 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Punay, Nathanielle (24 September 2019). "Deeptech dominates startup landscape". Singapore Business Review. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "2019 Winners". Mob-Ex Awards SG 2022 | Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "2020 Winners". PR Awards Singapore 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- Auto, Hermes (19 January 2021). "Carro: Tech innovation drives online car portal to the top | The Straits Times". www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
- "Carro tops FT ranking with help of AI". Financial Times. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2022.