Naspers/OLX-backed used car sales platform in Indonesia fuels up with $10m

More people in the country will be upgrading from two wheels to four.

BeliMobilGue (styled as BeliMobilGue.co.id), the Indonesian entity of used car sales platform Frontier Car Group (FCG), locked in a US$10 million funding round from its parent company FCG and other investors, including Tunas Indonesia Group, a major automotive player in the country.

FCG itself is backed by Naspers/OLX, among others, and also operates in markets like Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, and India.

BeliMobilGue (which means BuyMyCar), was set up in April 2017 as a joint venture between co-founder and CEO Rolf Monteiro, FCG, and local firm Intudo Ventures.

Monteiro says BeliMobilGue has already been able to carve out a leading position in Indonesia in terms of the total value transacted through the platform, although he admits that’s based on the firm’s own research.

Online marketplaces for used cars are abundant in Indonesia. Other startups include Carro, Carmudi, and Carsome, to name a few. Even generalized marketplaces like OLX often list used cars, but there are differences in the business models and profiles of buyers and sellers.

BeliMobilGue doesn’t target individual buyers, but instead works with certified buyers, like small-scale car dealers, which regularly seek specific types of models and builds. That’s why it’s not in competition with OLX, but complements it. Through its partnership with the giant classifieds platform, BeliMobilGue offers an additional option for people who list their car on OLX.

“OLX helps you to sell your car through classifieds listing and optionally offers ‘cash it for me’ through BMG,” Monteiro explains. Selling it through BeliMobilGue may get the seller “200 dollars less,” he says, but also works much faster and hassle-free. It’s intended for people who don’t want to spend the time negotiating with individual buyers.

According to Monteiro, the Indonesian car market has some qualities which make it a good opportunity for used cars. First of all, car ownership in Indonesia is very low, even in comparison with other ASEAN countries. There are only about 15.4 million registered cars in the country, with a population of over 250 million. Motorbikes remain a popular mode of transportation.

But over time many middle-class people will reach the stage where they would look for an affordable upgrade from a motorcycle to a car. The aspiration to eventually own a car has historically been high.

There’s also a pattern of movement of cars from the Jakarta capital region to secondary cities in Java or even outside of Java as they age, Monteiro says. So while Jakarta folks prefer to buy new or lightly used cars, people elsewhere might consider buying an older model if the price is right. Overall, Monteiro says, 300,000 used cars change owners each month in Indonesia.

There’s an “enormous” amount of dealerships in Indonesia, according to Monteiro. “80% of new car sales are controlled by Astra and Indomobil,” he says, referring to Indonesia’s two largest auto manufacturers and distributors. In the used car space, things are much less concentrated. Typically, dealers can sell a car within a week, but where they fall short is sourcing quality used cars.

The arrival of ride-hailing options like Go-Jek and Grab has introduced a new pattern, Monteiro says. Some people may be more inclined to let go of their cars if they realize they no longer need them because of other transportation options. Meanwhile, car-hailing networks also offer new opportunities for car owners.

BeliMobilGue makes money by charging the buyer, not the seller, a fee, which depends on the type of car and deal. However, Monteiro says, for now, the focus is on investing in growth, technology, and people.

Monteiro has a long track record in the tech industry. He was part of Groupon in its early days, and later its competitor Living Social. He was also country manager for iCarAsia in Indonesia before starting BeliMobilGue.

Editor: Brady Ng