Singaporean marketplace app Carousell snags $800K funding, sets sights on Malaysia and Indonesia

Singaporean marketplace app Carousell snags $800K funding, sets sights on Malaysia and Indonesia

November 13, 2013

by Vanessa Tan


Singapore-based marketplace mobile app Carousell has successfully raised S$1 million ($800,000) seed funding led by Rakuten, with follow-on investments by Golden Gate Ventures500Startups, and a few other angel investors such as Danny Oei Wirianto and Darius Cheung. For those who are not familiar with Carousell, it is a mobile C2C marketplace where you take a photo of your pre-loved or new items, list them on Carousell, then sell them. The new money in its pockets will aid in the expansion of both its product development and community teams, particularly its efforts within Southeast Asia. According to Carousell, it will focus on both Malaysia and Indonesia first. Users love Carousell, open app 10 times and spends 25 minutes on it dailyAccording to co-founder Quek Siu Rui, most of its users are aged between 16 to 34 years old. On average, they open the app 10 times per day, spending up to 25 minutes (accumulative) surfing the marketplace. The startup seems to be on track, and drew parallels between its app and Facebook, where an average user of the latter opens the app about 14 times daily, up to 30 minutes each time.

The Singapore-based company also has strategic ties with various partners, including the launch ofSheShops Marketplace with herworldPLUS and having Carousell listings on STClassifieds. With over a million listings created on the m-commerce app already, 80 percent consists of fashion and beauty products, technology gadgets, and personalized handcrafted gifts. Approximately 20 percent have already been purchased on the platform.

Hard work pays off

I first met Siu Rui close to a year ago, a week after Startup Weekend Singapore ended. Ever since, I’ve been seeing the team of three work till late at night at popular co-working space Blk71 in Singapore, shipping and delivering on internal deadlines they’ve set for themselves. The trio – Siu Rui, Marcus Tan, and Lucas Ngo – have been bootstrapping for the past 18 months, surviving on the S$70,000 ($56,100) received from government grants, QuestVC, and personal savings, along with support from NUS Enterprise. It has since added two more members to the team.

Thoughts on raising the new money? Siu Rui tells me:

Relieved! [We’re pretty] excited for having a real shot with serious financial backing to pursue our mission of inspiring millions to start selling.

Looking to sell your items? Download Carousell’s iOS app from the iTunes App store or the Android app from Google Play.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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