Exclusive: We have the means to win every single market in Africa-Carmudi

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carmudiblackWith a consultancy background of more than 7 years at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, one of the top consultancy firms in Europe, ranking among the top 10. Stefan Haubold quit in 2012 to launch a pet food startup which was quite successful.

Earlier this year, when Rocket Internet approached him to replicate that success on a global level, he didn’t look back.

“For me it has always been important to be responsible for the things I am doing, that is also why I left consultancy (I learnt everything from there), but now it is time to be operationally involved,” Haubold, Global Managing Director of Carmudi told TechMoran.

He says the Pet business taught him conquering a new market, about building something up from scratch and Carmudi caters in a similar way to the needs of the people just like his pet business.

“We provide a service the people are waiting for. The other parallel is easiness to use and convenience. The most challenging is to find the right people with the same entrepreneurial spirit to build something up.” Says Haubold. “We are currently active in 20 markets and trying to get each market to the same speed, besides our product our most valuable asset are our people.”

According to Haubold , there’s no poor car market globally, as Bangladesh might look similar to some market in Africa.

“ In general, in all our markets people are buying and selling “transportation”, i.e. they have the financial means to do so, and they have more and more access to the internet, that is the basis for our business model.  We wouldn’t go in any market where we don’t see a need and/or a potential.”

And in all emerging markets, mobile is eating the market.

“What we see in our markets is that people don’t start using a desktop or laptop first. Their direct acccess point to the internet is a smartphone. Everything is done through a phone as people often not able to afford a laptop, etc,” Haubold tells TechMoran.

Though the market is so receptive, there are still challenges and risks.

“Internet penetration is still comparable low and also behavior needs to change. Some of our work is also to explain the advantages of internet, of an online marketplace to regular customers. When it comes to Carmudi, we are educating the market in some form, explaining every single professional dealer why he should go online.

Carmudi is telling everyone why the Internet is good for them.

“Greater reach, can show his cars to people he has never been in contact before. (He’s) able to do business outside the regular office hours, can sell his cars much faster. There is a huge market opportunity out there, only a fraction of the people are informing themselves about cars online,” says Haubold. “Imagine when we see a market penetration of half the size as in Europe in Africa. Also look at valuations of our peers, Eg. Autotrader in the US got sold for USD 7bn. Similar figures were called up for our German and English pendants”

To curb online Carmudi says it has personal relations to its professional sellers, its sales team is basically “living” in the markets and regularly talks to the professional sellers and can verify the cars.

“ We educate/inform our customers about what to watch out when buying/selling a car. We verify every listing before it gets up and at the end of Carmudi is a business. We only can exist if we know our customers and their needs.”

And running such a huge company, one can only trust numbers to evaluate success and react to customer concerns.

“We have strong investors which provided us with the means to win every single market in Africa, and we are still entering new markets here. You can assume there is no shortage of resources to do so

“We don’t see that strong competition in our markets. Look where we are already after – better only – one year into the markets. We are the brand in the car dealer community, having strong partners as MTN or Rocket Internet.

“ We have a world-class product, just relaunched our website, bring in the knowledge from 20 markets, being the most professional actor in the markets, with sales teams in the markets from anywhere between 5 and 80 people depending on the market.”

In 2 years from now, Stefan says everyone will consult Carmudi when they need to sell or buy a car, want to have the latest price or just want to read what is going on in the industry.

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