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The story of Carro; a Southeast Asian startup unicorn

In the ever-evolving landscape of startups and technology firms, attaining the coveted unicorn status, characterized by a valuation exceeding $1 billion, is a remarkable feat that captures the attention of business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs worldwide. This exclusive club signifies not only substantial financial success but also an extraordinary journey marked by innovation, resilience, and customer-centric approaches. Carro, the Singapore-based automotive marketplace, has not only reached this milestone but has done so with impressive speed and panache.

In a span of just a few years, Carro has emerged as a shining star in the automotive industry, redefining the way people buy, sell, and interact with their vehicles. Its journey from inception to unicorn status is a testament to the power of disruptive ideas, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to enhancing customer experiences. By delving into Carro’s remarkable story, we can glean valuable insights that not only captivate the imagination but offer a blueprint for success in the fast-paced world of contemporary business and technology.

READ MORE: We look at Canva’s journey to becoming an industry leader

The genesis of Carro

Carro helped disrupt the buyer and seller market for automobiles in Asia
Carro helped disrupt the buyer and seller market for automobiles in Asia

Carro was founded in 2015 by Aaron Tan, who had a vision to revolutionize the way people buy and sell cars. The company began as an online car marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers, and gradually expanded its offerings to provide a one-stop shop for all automotive needs.

Timeline of Carro’s journey

  • 2015 – The Birth of Carro: Carro started its journey as a peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling cars, offering transparency, convenience, and a trusted platform for customers.
  • 2016 – A Year of Growth: Carro raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round, fueling its expansion plans. This marked the beginning of its journey towards becoming a significant player in the automotive industry.
  • 2017 – Expanding Beyond Singapore: Carro expanded its footprint to Thailand and Indonesia, strengthening its presence in the Southeast Asian market. The company’s data-driven approach started to gain traction among car buyers and sellers.
  • 2018 – Diversification with Services: Carro introduced various automotive services, including financing and insurance, aiming to be a comprehensive solution provider for its customers.
  • 2019 – Series B Funding: Carro secured $30 million in a Series B funding round, led by SoftBank Ventures Asia. This capital injection enabled further expansion and innovation in their offerings.
  • 2020 – Accelerated Growth: Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Carro showed remarkable resilience and adaptability. The company’s online platform became even more crucial for car buyers and sellers during the pandemic.
  • 2021 – Unicorn Valuation: In August 2021, Carro achieved the coveted unicorn status with a valuation exceeding $1 billion. This marked a significant milestone in the company’s journey.

Key milestones and insights

  • Data-Driven Approach: From the beginning, Carro’s unique selling point was its data-driven approach to the automotive market. By providing transparency in pricing and vehicle history, the platform gave buyers and sellers confidence in their transactions. This approach to trust and data was pivotal to Carro’s growth.
  • Expanding Across Borders: Expanding into the Thai and Indonesian markets was a bold move, but it paid off. Carro’s ability to adapt to local markets and provide tailored solutions enabled it to capture a broader customer base. This expansion was a significant stepping stone on the road to unicorn status.
  • Diversification of Services: Carro didn’t limit itself to just buying and selling cars. The introduction of financing and insurance services made it a comprehensive automotive marketplace, catering to all aspects of car ownership. This diversification increased customer engagement and retention.
  • Strategic Funding Rounds: Carro’s funding rounds were not just about raising capital; they were about securing strategic partnerships. The Series B funding led by SoftBank Ventures Asia was instrumental in giving the company the financial firepower to expand further.
  • Resilience during the Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges for many businesses, but Carro’s online platform became an even more crucial part of the automotive ecosystem. Car buyers and sellers turned to the platform for safe and convenient transactions, showcasing the adaptability of the business.
  • Unicorn Valuation: In August 2021, Carro’s valuation exceeded $1 billion, officially making it a unicorn. The company’s unwavering commitment to transparency, data, and customer-centric services played a significant role in reaching this milestone. Achieving unicorn status is not just about reaching a particular valuation; it’s about establishing trust and delivering value to customers consistently.

What’s next for Carro

Now that Carro has achieved unicorn status, the company’s focus will likely be on consolidating its position in existing markets, expanding into new territories, and further enhancing its suite of services. The roadmap to continued success may involve strategic acquisitions, technological advancements, and a continued commitment to customer satisfaction.


Carro’s journey to unicorn status is a testament to the company’s innovative approach, adaptability, and commitment to delivering value to its customers. By embracing data, expanding into new markets, and diversifying its services, Carro has positioned itself as a major player in the automotive industry. Achieving unicorn status is not merely about a valuation; it’s a recognition of the trust and confidence that Carro has built within the market. As the company looks to the future, it will continue to drive innovation and excellence in the automotive sector. For business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs, Carro’s journey serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved with vision, hard work, and a customer-centric approach.

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