Carousell has joined Singapore’s growing stable of unicorns after raising funds at a $1.1 billion valuation as the online classifieds marketplace operator seeks to expand into big-ticket items amid a pandemic-induced e-commerce boom.
The company raised $100 million in a funding round led by South Korean private equity firm STIC Investments, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Carousell was most recently valued at about $900 million during a funding round at the height of the pandemic in 2020, data from Venture Cap Insights showed.
“We believe that the accelerated adoption of digital experiences is an opportunity for us to double down on our recommerce efforts with a focus on convenience and trust, to unlock step-change growth in our community,” said Quek Siu Rui, cofounder and CEO of Carousell.
Founded in 2012, Carousell operates an online marketplace that allows users to buy and sell a range of secondhand products including electronic gadgets, fashion accessories and appliances across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The company—which counts Telenor ASA, Rakuten Ventures, Naver and Sequoia Capital India among its existing investors—more than doubled its revenues to $15.7 million in 2019, according to Venture Cap Insights.
“We have grown way beyond categories like fashion, electronics and general goods,” said Quek. “As the region becomes more affluent, people want to enjoy the finer things in life. We are looking at authentication capabilities for higher-value products, including luxury goods and cars.”
Singapore has been positioning itself as a hub for Southeast Asian startups, with the local bourse unveiling new rules this month to pave the way for the listing of special purpose acquisitions companies, or SPACs, many of which have facilitated the backdoor listings of startups in the U.S. Among the newly minted unicorns, or startups with a valuation above $1 billion, in the city-state include used-car marketplace Carro and fintech firm Nium.