Startups Venture

500 Startups’ Southeast Asia Fund Invests In Carousell’s $85 Million Series C Round

When it comes to buying and selling physical goods from one another, many folks are turning away from yard sales, swap meets, and general classified sites like Craigslist to swiping and tapping in mobile apps. It’s not just a North American trend either; the spread of peer-to-peer mobile commerce apps is very much a worldwide phenomenon.

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Carousell, a Singapore-based mobile app that offers a peer-to-peer marketplace for users to buy and sell goods, recently announced an $85 million Series C round. Including the company’s prior rounds, it has raised over $126 million in known equity funding.

The round was led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI, which invests on behalf of Singapore’s Economic Development Board. Other participating investors included Golden Gate Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, and DBS Bank. But it’s another of the round’s participating investors, 500 Startups, that we learned something about.

So That’s What The SPV Was For

In April, Crunchbase News originally reported that 500 Startups’ Southeast Asian fund, 500 Durians, was raising new capital. Although we originally reported it as a new standalone venture fund, a spokesperson from 500 Startups followed up to say that the approximately $21.18 million being raised by this new entity was actually for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for follow-on investment in one of its portfolio companies.

At the time, the investment firm didn’t confirm which company would receive the new funds, but today 500 Startups’ managing partner Christine Tsai confirmed with Crunchbase News that the SPV was earmarked for Carousell’s Series C round. In other words, if the firm invested the targeted $21.18 million stated in the original SEC filing, almost a quarter of Carousell’s Series C round came from 500 Startups.

Although there are many reasons why a venture capital firm could invest through a special purpose vehicle, it’s most often for positive reasons. Back in April, despite not revealing the destination of the capital it was raising in the SPV, the 500 Startups spokesperson suggested it was to maintain a position in one of its Southeast Asian success stories. Today’s news reveals that to be Carousell.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias