Used car market place CarSwitch.com raises $1.3 million
CarSwitch DMCC (CarSwitch.com), a marketplace for certified used cars, has secured $1.3 million investment from early-stage incubator, Glowfish Capital.
The investment came after CarSwitch.com achieved a solid 30 per cent month-on-month growth, using just its seed capital, and demonstrates that the emirate is leading the region in terms of entrepreneurs and start-ups, providing a strong testing ground and the right support structure for young businesses and innovators.
CarSwitch.com has tried to alleviate the challenges faced by sellers and buyers alike in the UAE. For sellers, CarSwitch.com takes on the process from start to finish, which includes advertising, collecting calls, arranging test drives and closing the paperwork. CarSwitch.com runs its own proprietary 200-point inspection and discloses the results on their online portal to provide transparency in the marketplace, while adding a warranty to every car. This results in complete peace of mind for the buyers who ultimately purchase directly from end sellers.
Founded in 2016, by ex-McKinsey & Company consultants, Imad Hammad and Ali Malik, CarSwitch.com is now looking to cement their first mover advantage in Dubai and neighbouring cities. Speaking on their initial success, Imad Hammad, founder and CEO, said “The broader region represents an annual $18 billion opportunity, with the UAE alone representing $2.5 billion. Yet, it’s still an opaque experience for most sellers and buyers, as there is limited reliable information on used car prices, history and condition”. Though buyers could ask sellers to inspect the car before purchase, it results in a time consuming shopping process. The idea of pre-inspections available online goes a long way in streamlining the process for both parties. With the transparency CarSwitch.com offers online, they are able to close the majority of deals within one to three test drives and in some cases collect a reservation deposit sight-unseen.
When asked about further funding and innovations, Hammad said that the company will expand the premium customer experience through extended operations and technology enablement, which includes the launch of iOS and Android Apps, an online valuation tool, and a concierge desk to secure insurance and financing needs, amongst other priorities.
"CarSwitch.com has shown impressive growth in a short period of time and we are confident that this round of funding will continue to fuel its rapid acceleration. There was a much needed missing piece in the UAE's car market and this first-of-its-kind venture has successfully stepped forward to fill the gap. CarSwitch.com has already established itself as a leader in the region's online marketplace," said one of the managing partners of Glowfish Capital.
Since going live, CarSwitch.com has interacted with over 6,000 sellers and counting, reinforcing the growing online services sector in the UAE. “This builds on the momentum of several start-up ventures across verticals, from Careem for transport, Fetchr for logistics, ServiceMarket.com for home services, Washmen for laundry, and many others. The world is rapidly moving online, and Dubai is keeping pace with the entrepreneurial spirit of its residents,” said Hammad.