It’s been over 7 months since we first heard about Carwale.com raising $7 million from Sierra Ventures, and almost six months since CEO Mohit Dubey first publicly disclosed the funding at a Startup Saturday, though he didn’t mention the investors then.
The money appears to have taken a long time coming, and Carwale has now announced that they’ve raised upto $7 million from Sierra Ventures, in a Series A round of funding. So the money’s in the bank now. Remember that Carwale had reportedly sold 30% stake to SeedFund, an early stage investor, and it is worth noting that Sierra Ventures is one of the investors in SeedFund; Dubey told MediaNama that SeedFund had introduced them to Sierra Ventures.
Have promoters sold out majority stake?
Industry sources put Carwale’s valuation at around Rs. 48 crores, and suggested that they’ve sold around 25-30% stake to Sierra. Dubey declined to confirm the valuation and how much stake they’ve sold, but said that this has been a fresh issue of capital. He also declined to comment on whether the promoters still hold a majority stake in the company, and refused to disclose Seedfunds current holding in Carwale.
On revenues, targets and leads:
Carwale closed the last financial year with revenues of a little less than Rs. 4 crores, but on a profitable note. When we checked with some investors some 3-4 months ago, they were targeting around Rs. 15 crores for this fiscal, though Dubey did not wish to comment on the revised targets. Carwale is believed to be the leader in the auto classifieds business, though Dubey says that the main revenue stream is media sales (advertising). We’ve heard from agencies that some car companies have cut digital spends completely, and Dubey confirmed that there’s been a cutdown in the ad budget and lesser number of cars being sold. However, they do claim to have some deals in the pipeline – pilot projects with leading manufacturers.
The company claims to generate around 6000-7000 leads a day, of which around 50 percent are passed on to clients – usually auto and finance companies. Interestingly, the auto classifieds part of the business appears to be relatively small – Dubey says they charge Rs. 750 per listing, and it accounts for around 10 percent of their overall business.
Interestingly, Dubey believes that this round of funding will take the company to an IPO, and they won’t need to raise another round of funding.