Silvertree Capital-backed online auto bazaar, CarZar.co.za, which was founded in 2016 has raised undisclsoed funding from the $725m Sweden-listed investment firm Vostok New Ventures, the firm behind Avito, Russia’s leading online classifieds company, BlaBlaCar, a leading long-distance ride sharing service; Gett, an on-demand taxi hailing service available in Israel, Russia, UK and New York City; babylon, a leading AI-driven digital healthcare company, and many more.
The firm will use this new round of funding to improve customer experience, as well as boost marketing, and recruiting more talents to join their international team.
CarZar’s undisclosed raise comes just days after Nigeria’s Cars45 raised $5m showing the growing interest of global players in Africa’s auto classifieds market. CarZar is also backed by a third undisclosed U.K-based investor focusing on emerging markets. Their entry also sends a warning to struggling Cheki, a Ringier One Africa Media firm which at one time had the continent to itself but has since struggled to make sense of the investors money.
According to CarZar Joint MD, Fernando Pinheiro, “South Africans are proving to be ready to welcome new ways of getting “stuff done”. With the local market being extremely diverse and the auto industry being among the most traditional ones, South Africans are still familiarising themselves with new ways of selling their vehicles,” says Pinheiro.
In operation for only a year, the startup has been disrupting the second-hand car market by introducing technology to an industry that has remained traditional for decades. CarZar entered the second-hand car market with a clear mission – empowering SA consumers to sell their pre-loved vehicles seamlessly.
Potential sellers can simply go onto the CarZar.co.za website, and enter their cars details; after which CarZar’s unique algorithm will generate an estimate for the vehicle’s selling price instantly. If the seller is happy with the estimated value, they can book a free inspection with one of CarZar’s fully trained car inspectors – at one of CarZar’s Car Buying Centres or at their preferred location. Within 20 minutes, the inspector will make a final offer to the seller. CarZar then makes an instant payment and takes care of all the paperwork. In all, the process takes 30 minutes.
The CarZar service comes at zero cost to customers and it is 100 percent obligation-free.
With the tech-startup making waves in the car industry, CarZar has captured the eyes of Vostok New Ventures. The Sweden-listed investment firm finds and identifies investment opportunities with strong network effects characteristics through expertise, experience and a widespread network, built-up during the company’s history.
Although CarZar may be a young tech-startup, the company has seen extensive growth while entering the market with a strong brand promise to guarantee safety, transparency, convenience and competence throughout the car selling experience. CarZar has expanded its scope from Cape Town, to Johannesburg and Durban, with a multicultural team constantly growing.
Pinheiro believes the company will only grow from strength-to-strength.“We see technology being our key differentiator and main driver of growth. Additionally, we foresee territorial expansion in South Africa, introducing our services to even the smallest of towns,” says Pinheiro.
CarZar customer reviews have indicated that the tech-startup is consistently delivering a positive car selling experience – contributing to the performance growth of the company, and proving that CarZar is a business to be reckoned with.