Cars24, a leading online used car marketplace, has raised an undisclosed amount as part of Series D funding in a strategic partnership with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The Gurugram-based company said that the funding will further help in its brand building as it expands across various markets in the country. Besides equity, the investment will make Dhoni as the company’s brand ambassador. The company has also come up with a new series of TVCs.
Commenting on the development, Cars24 CEO and Cofounder Vikram Chopra said the company is very much excited to welcome Mahi into the Cars24 family. “He is a role model and hero to most Indians. His ability to constantly evolve, innovate and find solutions to every problem thrown at him over the years have made him the most celebrated captain in the Indian history,” said Vikram Chopra.
Cars24, founded by Vikram Chopra, Gajendra Jangid, Ruchit Agarwal and Mehul Agrawal in 2015, has evolved over a period of time and has become an efficient and trusted platform for car owners to sell their used cars at the best price. It has made the process very easy as the owners can book an appointment with Cars24 branch. Within a single visit the company helps in complete the entire process.
The company has so far reportedly raised $100 million from various investors through its Singapore parent Global Car Group. Cars24 currently operates 150 outlets in 35 cities and the company plans to double the number of cities and total number of stores of 230 by the end of 2019.
The company believes that MS Dhoni’s credentials, recognition and traits, on and off the pitch, makes him the perfect bet for Cars24 brand visibility. The company expects the move will bolster its marketing campaign which are centred around the trust factor in pre-owned car sales.
Expressing confidence on the development, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said besides being a fan of all things to do with cars, he is also a fan of new age companies that are disruptive, innovative and shaping the future. “CARS24 is definitely one of these companies. They have big ambitions and I am excited to work with them and help them achieve their goals,” said Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
While the company began its campaign on radio on August 1, the Television Commercial advertisement (TVC) was launched on Tuesday. The move will help the company to reach out to maximum customers during the week of Independence Day and Rakhi. The core idea of the campaign is “Car bechni ho, toh CARS24” is conceived by Spring Marketing Capital. The newly launched TVCs helps to resolve the car selling decision which is always riddled with confusion and doubt. The company expects M S Dhoni’s presence will keep away conflicting views and contradictory opinions that come across while taking the decision.
Prior to his investment in Cars24, Dhoni has cofounded his fitness brand SportsFit in 2012. The Indian startup ecosystem has always been the fiefdom of celebrity cricketers as as Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh have actively pursued investment interests in this area. The country has been increasingly seeing celebrity turning investors as well as founders.
The company’s new move comes at a time when it is going through a turbulent phase as many of its outlets in Delhi are facing shut down. Cars24 reportedly received nearly six legal notices from landlords in Delhi for non-payment of rent for months. In another development, the Delhi High Court in an interim order last year had asked Car24 not to indulge in unfair competition or commercial misappropriation or trademark infringement of the Olx brand. The US-based online platform accused Cars24 of illegally procuring its sellers’ data.
Cars24 recently announced that it has procured an NBFC License from the RBI. The move is expected to help the company to start consumer lending business.The company will be launching services in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and will scale up to the other cities gradually. The customers will be eligible for a credit based on the car value they are buying. For consumers, the average ticket size of a loan would be Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.
Besides Sequoia Capital, Cayman Islands-based Kingsway FCI Fund and Toronto-based KCK Global, the three-year-old startup investors include Exor Seeds, a fund associated with Exor NV, one of Europe’s leading diversified holding companies and which is controlled by the Agnelli Family and Apoletto Asia, an investment vehicle associated with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global.