Gurugram-based automobile marketplace CarDekho is set to join India’s fast-increasing bandwagon of unicorns. According to reports, the startup is in talks with investors to raise a minimum of $150 Mn in Series E funding that will help turn the startup into a unicorn.
While it’s not clear who will lead the investment, sources told Inc42 that Sequoia is likely to participate in the funding round.
Backed by the likes of Sequoia Capital, HDFC Bank, Hillhouse Group and Ping An Global Voyager, Cardekho has so far raised $247.5 Mn in funding. The company had last raised $70 Mn in Series D funding led by Hong Kong-based Ping An Global Voyager in 2019. Post Series D funding the autotech startup was valued at $725 Mn.
Earlier, in March this year, CarDekho had launched UPLINK, an advanced and compact GPS Vehicle Tracking System powered by a compact plug-and-play device that can be connected to any vehicle allowing users to gain real-time access to a host of information such as live tracking, rash driving alerts, trips history, usage stats, and more.
Despite Covid having adversely impacted the automobile sector, cofounder Amit Jain told a news platform that the company has received a very good response (on its online platform). The pandemic has only helped speed up the adoption of this model.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the Indian automobile industry registered negative growth in sales of all vehicle categories in FY21 (2.24% decline in sales of passenger vehicles, 13.19% fall in sales of two-wheelers, 20.77% fall in sales of commercial vehicles, and 66.06% fall in sales of three-wheelers).
Regardless of the auto industry’s overall performance, CarDekho group has been working on the product front and recently hired five VPs to lead its engineering, technology, and product development teams.
While ex-Walmart executive Sandeep Singh and ex-Reliance Jio VP of engineering Mayank Kapoor were appointed as vice presidents of engineering, Manjeet Dahiya, who was earlier leading ML and data science at Airtel’s WYNK was appointed as the VP of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data sciences.
With the latest funding, CarDekho will be India’s 56th Unicorn and 15th startup to enter the Unicorn club this year. In 2018, Inc42 predicted that India will have 100 unicorns by 2025, but looking at the current landscape with 52 startups in the club already (with 10 unicorns added in first 4 months of 2021) it’s expected that India may cross this number (100 unicorns) by 2023.