carwow, the online platform where consumers can research, compare and buy new and nearly-new cars has announced a strategic funding round, led by one of the leading German vehicle manufacturers, Daimler AG. Among others, the portfolio of Daimler AG includes the world famous premium automobile brand Mercedes-Benz.
The capital from the £25m strategic funding round will unlock further growth potential for the business and consolidate the firm’s ambition to emerge as a scale-up success story, deepening its presence in the UK by investing in talent, product development and marketing.
Daimler AG is joining investors such as Balderton Capital, Accel and Vitruvian Partners, all of which are re-investing in the tech firm, and other strategic investors from the automotive sector to support the further growth of carwow across new and existing markets. Axel Harries, Vice President Sales Functions Mercedes-Benz Cars & Product Management Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars, will take a Board seat on the carwow board of directors, nominated by Daimler AG.
This investment is the first time carwow has opened up to strategic investors, to back the technology business that aims to completely transform the traditional car buying model and meet the growing need from buyers to start the journey online and easily compare options in the research phase.
carwow helps to inform consumers throughout their car buying journey with high quality content and reviews, transparency on pricing and ratings across their nationwide network of approved dealerships, who in turn benefit from targeted brand exposure and qualified enquiries from consumers who know what they want. The demand for this service has been undeniable, with over £5bn of pounds worth of cars bought through carwow since the company launched, currently one in every 20 new retail cars in the UK sold is via carwow, representing 5% of the market.
At a time when the UK automotive industry is in a cyclical decline, both in terms of job losses and falling car sales, carwow has been continuing its expansion and growth with a launch into leasing, OEM solutions and part-exchange services.
The proposition is also live in Germany and Spain. Since launching in 2016, Germany has experienced rapid growth and already accounts for 1.5% of all new retail car sales, having already sold over €600 million worth of vehicles in Germany to date. The Spanish operation, launched a year ago, expects to sell €200m worth of vehicles by the end of this year.
James Hind, founder of carwow said, “When carwow was founded, there was a view from the industry that there might be some resistance for a model that levelled the playing field for consumers and dealers; having one of the world’s leading car manufacturers investing in the future growth and success of our business is a real proof point that this is a solution that works.
“This demonstrates that the industry perspective is shifting to what we anticipated when we launched, not only that the car purchasing journey was primed to move into the digital era, but that dealers and manufacturers can greatly reap the benefits of more informed and empowered customers.”
Rob Moffat, Partner at Balderton Capital said, “We are delighted to bring Daimler on board at carwow, alongside further investment from Balderton, Accel and Vitruvian.
This investment from one of the leading global car manufacturers demonstrates how strategically important carwow is becoming for online car sales across Europe.”