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Singapore start-up Carro bags $360 million in funds from SoftBank and others

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On May 27, 2021, a used car dealership is seen in Laurel, Maryland, as many car dealerships across the country are running low on new vehicles due to a computer chip shortage, which has caused production at many vehicle manufacturers to nearly halt.

SINGAPORE — Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia Carro, a Singapore-based startup, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $360 million in a Series C funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.

The company runs an online marketplace where users can buy, sell, or lease used and new cars. It also offers financing, insurance, and maintenance for those vehicles.

Carro did not provide an exact valuation. However, the company claims to be the newest Southeast Asian start-up to surpass the $1 billion mark, a term known as a unicorn.

Several Indonesia-based funds, such as EV Growth, also participated in the latest funding round.

Founder and CEO Aaron Tan stated that there is a strong desire to take the company public within the next 18 to 24 months.

“I’d say ‘where’ depends on what’s good at the time,” he said Tuesday, when asked where Carro might potentially list. “We like to think that the United States, particularly the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq, would be a good bourse to potentially list the company.”

Carro stated that the new funds would be used to strengthen the company’s market position and expand its product and service offerings in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It would also be used to accelerate the development of the company’s artificial intelligence technology, which is used to facilitate site transactions.

Some of Southeast Asia’s most prominent start-ups are also preparing to go public.

Grab, a ride-hailing company based in Singapore, announced in April that it would go public through a “blank check” merger valued at $39.6 billion; the special purpose acquisition company deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. GoTo Group, a newly merged Indonesian tech giant, is also in talks to go public.

According to venture capital firm 500 Startups, the initial public offerings of Grab and GoTo could result in more start-ups in the region.

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