Carousell, a mobile marketplace founded in Singapore in 2012, announced the closing of a USD 56 million fundraising round from Naspers, the parent company of classified ads site OLX.
The deal will also see Carousell acquire OLX Philippines. It gives OLX Group an approximate 10% stake in Carousell, and values the company at “over USD 550 million”, the firm says.
That Naspers and Carousell were discussing a possible investment was first reported by TechCrunch ten months ago.
Carousell started out as an app to sell second-hand goods, offering a simple interface and process for users to sell and buy items with the slogan “snap-sell, chat-buy.”
The app has gained significant traction in Singapore, where it ranks among the top five shopping apps, according to App Annie data. Carousell is also available in other Southeast Asian markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, where it is less popular.
Its merger with OLX in the Philippines, set to be completed in the second half of 2019, should give it a leg up in the country.
Carousell has gradually enabled sellers on its platform to sell higher-priced items, such as cars and property, which makes it a good match for OLX, a global online classifieds marketplace that is more than a decade old and was once very popular across Southeast Asia, but has been challenged by newcomers who are more attuned to the mobile-first era.
Carousell said its mission is to “reimagine classifieds in an AI-first world,” and it wants to continue improving predictive features like smart listings, personalized browsing, chatting experiences, and price suggestion functions.
The company says it currently features more than 196 million listings and has sold a total of 71 million items. In May last year, Carousell closed a USD 85 million Series C round. It has raised approximately USD 170 million to date, with early investors such as 500 Startups and Sequoia Capital India. It’s considered one of the Southeast Asian startups with the potential to hit unicorn status, or a valuation of USD 1 billion, in the near future.
Editor: Brady Ng