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Carwow fuels international business plans with $39m investment

A $39m investment has been pumped into London-headquartered new car buying service Carwow, which will be used to fuel aggressive expansion at home and abroad.
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Since launch in 2013, Carwow has received £18m of funding from the likes of Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, which have also joined the new $39m round led by Vitruvian Partners.

The firm started as a car review aggregator, but now also acts as a price comparison site of new cars for consumers, breaking down results based on cost, location and rating of dealers.

Carwow’s new backing comes following a significant milestone, which has seen over £2bn worth of new cars bought through the site over the past four years.

There’s still room for growth though, as Carwow claims that five per cent of new car purchases by UK consumers were via its service this year so far.

To capitalise on the opportunity to scale, funds will be used to introduce new marketing campaigns to spread awareness among consumers. Meanwhile, growing the network of new car dealers using the service will build on the third in the UK that are already signed up.

James Hind, founder and CEO of Carwow, said: “We’re relentlessly focused on creating the best car buying experience which benefits consumers, dealers and manufacturers.

“This new funding will allow us to put even more consumers in the driving seat when buying their next car. We’ll invest even further in improving our service for our partner dealers and manufacturers, who work with us to provide consumers an excellent way to buy a new car.”

The Carwow team of 140 people based at Holborn will also be bolstered as the business looks to enhance its offerings to new consumers and clients alike. In terms of an international outlook, the company has an aggressive agenda ahead to expand on its launch in Germany last year.

Vitruvian is well versed in the price comparison space, having acquired a minority stake in flight booking platform Skycanner at the start of 2016 – 11 months later and the travel business was bought for £1.4bn.

Thomas Studd, partner at Vitruvian Partners, added: “It’s clear to see the value that carwow provides consumers who are looking to buy a new car but what also became evident during the investment process are the significant benefits that carwow delivers to both its partner dealers and car manufacturers.

“Dealers are particularly enthusiastic as carwow’s highly qualified leads allow dealers to address the market much more efficiently – a third of all calls from carwow consumers end in the sale of a car.”

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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