Malaysian Unicorn Carsome Raises $290 Million To Fund Southeast Asia Expansion Plans

Carsome, Malaysia’s first tech unicorn startup, raised $290 million in a Series E funding round, valuing the used-car online marketplace at $1.7 billion.

The round was led by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and two funds backed by Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, 65 Equity Partners and Seatown Private Capital Master Fund, Carsome said in a statement on Monday.

Other investors included four billionaire-backed companies: Jeffrey Cheah’s Malaysian conglomerate Sunway, Lance Gokongwei’s Philippines conglomerate Gokongwei Group, Tsai Ming-kai’s Taiwan chip designer MediaTek, and Francis Yeoh’s Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate YTL Group. Telecom company Taiwan Mobile also participated in the funding round.

Carsome plans to use the funding to expand its product, technology and infrastructure in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The startup also plans to expand Carsome Certified, its business-to-consumer arm. In July, Carsome said it was considering going public in the U.S. by merging with a SPAC.

Founded in 2015, Carsome is one of Southeast Asia’s largest used car e-commerce platforms, alongside Carro and Carousell. The platform helps with inspections, ownership transfer and finances between consumers and used car dealers, handling around 100,000 car transactions annually, according to Carsome.

In September, Carsome raised $170 million in a funding round that included Catcha Group, MediaTek and Malaysian government fund Penjana Kapital. The startup achieved unicorn status in July after a $200 million share-swap deal with Australia-listed iCar Asia.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based Carro, which is backed by the likes of SoftBank, Mitsubishi and Singapore government’s investment arm EDBI, also has big plans for growth. “The plan is to look to become a decacorn in the next few years, as soon as possible,” Aaron Tan, Carro’s cofounder and CEO, told Forbes Asia in August.

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