Singaporean marketplace app Carousell snags $800K funding, sets sights on Malaysia and Indonesia


C2C Marketplace Carousell Raises S$1 million funding

Singapore-based marketplace mobile app Carousell has successfully raised S$1 million ($800,000) seed funding led by Rakuten, with follow-on investments by Golden Gate Ventures, 500Startups, and a few other angel investors such as Danny Oei Wirianto and Darius Cheung.

For those who are not familiar with Carousell, it is a mobile C2C marketplace where you take a photo of your pre-loved or new items, list them on Carousell, then sell them. The new money in its pockets will aid in the expansion of both its product development and community teams, particularly its efforts within Southeast Asia. According to Carousell, it will focus on both Malaysia and Indonesia first.

Users love Carousell, open app 10 times and spends 25 minutes on it daily

According to co-founder Quek Siu Rui, most of its users are aged between 16 to 34 years old. On average, they open the app 10 times per day, spending up to 25 minutes (accumulative) surfing the marketplace. The startup seems to be on track, and drew parallels between its app and Facebook, where an average user of the latter opens the app about 14 times daily, up to 30 minutes each time.

The Singapore-based company also has strategic ties with various partners, including the launch of SheShops Marketplace with herworldPLUS and having Carousell listings on STClassifieds. With over a million listings created on the m-commerce app already, 80 percent consists of fashion and beauty products, technology gadgets, and personalized handcrafted gifts. Approximately 20 percent have already been purchased on the platform.

Hard work pays off

I first met Siu Rui close to a year ago, a week after Startup Weekend Singapore ended. Ever since, I’ve been seeing the team of three work till late at night at popular co-working space Blk71 in Singapore, shipping and delivering on internal deadlines they’ve set for themselves. The trio – Siu Rui, Marcus Tan, and Lucas Ngo – have been bootstrapping for the past 18 months, surviving on the S$70,000 ($56,100) received from government grants, QuestVC, and personal savings, along with support from NUS Enterprise. It has since added two more members to the team.

Thoughts on raising the new money? Siu Rui tells me:

Relieved! [We’re pretty] excited for having a real shot with serious financial backing to pursue our mission of inspiring millions to start selling.

Looking to sell your items? Download Carousell’s iOS app from the iTunes App store or the Android app from Google Play.

(Editing by Paul Bischoff and Willis Wee)

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