Online classifieds marketplace Carousell Pte became Singapore’s latest tech unicorn, raising funds at a $1.1 billion valuation as Southeast Asia’s e-commerce startups benefit from the pandemic and related lockdowns.
The company got $100 million in a round led by South Korean private equity firm STIC Investments, according to a statement on Wednesday.
Carousell is joining Singapore’s growing list of unicorns, or private companies valued at more than $1 billion, as the island nation of 5.7 million people positions itself as a vibrant regional hub for technology startups.
Newly minted unicorns this year include fintech platform Nium, used-car marketplace Carro and software company PatSnap.
There has been a flurry of fundraising and startup deals in Southeast Asia, where the tech industry is having a boom year. The coronavirus and government-imposed movement restrictions have boosted demand for online transactions in one of the world’s fastest-growing digital markets.
The region added 70 million new online shoppers since the start of the pandemic, according to an annual report by Facebook Inc. and Bain & Co.
Carousell was founded in 2012 and now counts Telenor ASA, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India among its backers.
The marketplace has since expanded to eight markets across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, allowing users to buy and sell a diverse range of products including cars, lifestyle, gadgets and fashion accessories.
The company is considering to add authentication technologies for higher-value products, such as luxury goods and vehicles, among other programs.