Tiger Global Management is in talks to lead a $100 million round in online used-car retailer Spinny, more than doubling its valuation to $800 million in two months and continuing the New York-based investment firm’s dealmaking spree in Indian startups, sources said.
Spinny was last valued at $350 million in April when it raised $65 million from investors such as General Catalyst, Fundamentum, Elevation Capital (SAIF Partners) and Think Investments. Tiger’s conversations with Spinny are at an advanced stage and the deal is expected to close soon, the sources cited above added.
Founded by Niraj Singh, Mohit Gupta and Ramanshu Mahaur in 2015, Spinny is a buyer-focused platform for used cars, as opposed to Cars24 and CarDekho which have been seller focused until recently. Spinny and Tiger declined to comment on the story.
Spinny sources its cars from dealers, individual suppliers and even CarDekho, reconditions them in its facility and then sells them. It sold about 3,000 cars a month in March- more than double from a year prior- before the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business in India, said a person aware of the matter
Tellingly, the average selling price of a car on Spinny is Rs 4-4.5 lakh, double that of rival platforms, underlining better customer quality who are trusting the platform for relatively high-quality cars, said this person, who requested anonymity. It sells about Rs 100 crore worth of cars a month, giving Spinny a net monthly revenue of Rs 10-15 crore a month.
That would still be an expensive valuation multiple for Tiger and other investors (more than 30 times annualised revenue assuming an annual revenue run rate of $20 million (Rs 145 crore), but investors are looking at the sales figure more than the revenue.
“They can increase their margins further by lending and providing insurance. Expanding those gross margins and expanding to newer cities makes it an attractive bet. Their customer quality and customer focus are better than anyone else. Hopefully, that will translate to increased business growth as well,” said a second person tracking the company, who did not want to be named.
Retailing cars is generally seen as an offline-heavy and expensive proposition, but Spinny is profitable at a contribution margin level, these people said. Contribution margin shows the sales after deducting variable costs. This is not akin to net profits, but is seen as a positive indicator of sound economics by investors.
Spinny originally launched in Delhi- National Capital Region (NCR), Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. This year it has expanded to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kolkata, and plans to expand to 5-6 more cities by the end of the year, these people added
Tiger’s bet on Spinny is also led by its investment in US-based Carvana, which runs a similar model. Tiger is a significant shareholder in Carvana, which went public in 2017, and has seen its share price quadruple in the last one year- from $55 a share in March 2020 to $275 currently. Its valuation since going public has gone from $2 billion to $45 billion.
Silicon Valley investor General Catalyst is also an investor in US-based Vroom and UK-based Cazoo, both online used car retailers. Cazoo is currently eyeing a $7 billion public listing while Vroom listed last year and currently has a market cap of $6 billion.
The three venture capital-backed used car retailers- Cars24, CarDekho and Spinny are all entering each other's business lines after having different approaches for a few years.
Moneycontrol exclusively reported on June 10 that Cars24 and CarDekho have rolled out a buyer-focused platform similar to Spinny. Spinny also currently has a seller-focused portion to its site.
It is yet unclear who will be the winner in this space, but companies and investors insist that the market is big enough for two major players, and whoever has the best customer experience while being able to crack economics will win.
Tiger’s deal also continues its blistering dealmaking run, across growth and late stages of Indian internet companies. Tiger’s investment has made nearly half a dozen startups this year a unicorn- companies valued at a billion dollars or more. These include B2B marketplace Infra.Market, investing app Groww, content firm ShareChat, software firms Gupshup and Innovaccer, among others.