carwow founders CEO James Hind, creative director Alexandra Margolis and chief technology officer David Santoro
carwow, the online platform which aims to ease the process of buying a new car, has raised £30m in funding as it gets set to expand overseas.
The funding round was led by new investor Vitruvian Partners, with existing investors Accel Partners and Balderton Capital also participating. Previously to date, carwow had raised £18m to fund its growth and development.
Bolstered by the new funds, carwow is looking to build on its market leading position in new car buying with further investment in marketing campaigns, building the dealer network and growing the team.
More than £2bn of new cars have been bought through carwow since its launch in 2013, and this year around 5% of all consumer new car purchases in the UK have been facilitated by the site.
Consumers can research, select and configure new cars before receiving up-front, no-haggle offers from UK franchised dealers.
They can then make an informed decision on the offers based on price, location, dealer ratings and delivery time, before buying directly from the dealer of their choice.
More than a third of UK new car dealers already use carwow as a route to reaching online-savvy buyers.
The website provides unprecedented insight into how new cars are bought and sold, and has seen a five-fold increase in the number of users considering electric or hybrid cars over the last 12 months.
carwow was launched in 2013 by CEO James Hind, creative director Alexandra Margolis and chief technology officer David Santoro.
It employs 140 people at its head office in Holborn, central London, and last month sealed its first partnership with a motor manufacturer by introducing a live finance calculator from Volvo on its site.
Furthermore, carwow launched in Germany in 2016 and plans aggressive international expansion following its success in this market.
Hind 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.
“We are very pleased to have Vitruvian Partners leading this new round of financing. They bring with them much expertise in growing international consumer-facing online marketplaces, and will add a lot of value.”
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.
“We are delighted and excited to partner with carwow and to help accelerate its international expansion and deepen its offering within the UK new car market.”
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