Entrepreneur Aaron Tan was going to start a business. As a former venture capitalist who spent his twenties investing in start-ups across the U.S. and Southeast Asia, Tan learned early on to evaluate companies based on their current model and ability to scale.
So when he saw momentum growing in the auto industry in the mid-2010s, he saw huge potential. At that time, ride-hailing took off in the U.S., and so did auto trading platforms and sophisticated financial services around car ownership. Yet, in Tan’s native Southeast Asia, the industry was still nascent. For him, it was an opportunity waiting to be taken.
“The opportunity I saw in the neighborhood drew me into this whole industry,” said Tan. “When we talk about neighborhoods, we are talking about the adjacencies we can get into—for instance, financial services, insurance, warranties, and loans. Or after sales, things like fixing and repairing vehicles,” he said.
So in 2015, Tan teamed up with his college friends to launch Carro, an artificial intelligence-enabled car trading platform that allows buyers and sellers across Southeast Asia to compare the best deals. Then, in the following years, the company expanded into end-to-end financial services, like loans, insurance, aftercare products, and a car subscription service.
“All those opportunities are [$10 billion to $20 billion] vertically across the region. He said, ” I think it is given what drew us to do something in this space,” he said.
It wasn’t just Tan and his co-founders who saw potential, either. Initially, Tan pulled together $1 million from four friends to kickstart the business. Since then, the company has raised over half a billion dollars, including $360 million in recent funding from Softbank and Indonesia-based fund EV Growth. The six-year-old company is now valued at $1 billion.
Tan said the latest investment would help Carro expand into each of its “neighborhood” services. “Going deeper in each neighborhood is my number one thing. Number two is going broader and into other countries. And third, as we’re in markets, we need to ensure we get more market share,” he said.
Courtesy: CNBC Make it