South African media and internet conglomerate Naspers is in discussion to pick up stake in Singapore headquartered startup Carousell, according to people familiar with matter. Carousell offers marketplace via smartphone app and web service to Southeast Asian consumers for selling & buying second hand products. It also offers marketplace services in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia & U.S.
Sources claim that talks are still in early stage and hence it is not clear how much stake Naspers want to acquire in the Singapore based startup. The South African media conglomerate may initially acquire only minority stake and later may increase the stake through further investment, one source claimed.
Naspers’ interest in Carousell comes nearly a month after the latter raised $85 Mn in series C round. That funding round took startup’s total funding amount to almost $126 Mn. The series C round also brought some big names like DBS Bank into company’s board.
Carousell is widely considered as one of the most respected and promising startups in Singapore. It claims to have sold 50 million products and also claims to have today 144 million listings of products. However, the company in past has faced flaks on social media for fake products and poor customer experiences.
Meanwhile, Naspers through this investment is probably looking to widen its investment in the highly lucrative Southeast Asian market. Currently, its portfolio in the region compromises of only $5 Mn investment in Cyrpto startup Coins.Ph.
The South African conglomerate is best known for its early stage investment in Chinese internet giant Tencent. An investment that over the years has acquired legendary status in the venture capital world. Naspers had picked up 46.5% stake in Tencent for merely $32 Million in 2001, when the latter was a largely unknown Chinese internet company.
Today the value of that investment has jumped to whopping $172 Bn and today Tencent is widely considered as one of the biggest internet companies in the world.