three faculty mates constructed a $1 billion enterprise promoting used vehicles

Aaron Tan is on the way.

As a co-founder of a newly crowned unicorn and one of the Asia-Pacific fastest growing startups, the Carro CEO is now on the way to being listed on the stock exchange.

And with investors like Softbank coming on board, he has no plans to slow down.

“The question is, now that we’re down to $ 1 billion, how do we get to $ 10 billion? How do we get to $ 100 billion?” Tan told CNBC Make It.

I wouldn’t say I got my co-founders to start the company together …

Aaron Tan

Co-Founder and CEO, Carro

automobile – a play on the words “Autoheld” – is a Southeast Asian online car marketplace that was developed to simplify auto business with artificial intelligence.

Founded in 2015 by Tan and his college friends Aditya Lesmana and Kelvin Chng, it achieved the coveted $ 1 billion unicorn status in June after securing $ 360 million in funding. The deal brings the total capital to over half a billion dollars and brings Carro alongside major competitors such as Carsome from Malaysia and Germany Carmudi, in an industry that is worth it $ 50 billion, and the number is rising.

But as Tan explained, it was a journey there.

Driven to success

The 36-year-old’s entrepreneurial story began at the age of 13. As a teenager growing up in Singapore, the geek made extra money building and selling websites.

Later, however, while working as a venture capitalist in the United States, he saw the opportunity to combine entrepreneurship with his true passion: trading automobiles.

Aaron Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of Southeast Asian auto marketplace Carro.


“When I was a VC in the USA for many years, I remember very well, I met all kinds of automotive companies – your Beepi, your Uber, your DriveShift. What that showed me was the dynamics in the room, ”said Tan.

While the auto resale market was thriving in the US, it was not in Southeast Asia. It was known to be opaque as multiple middlemen made it difficult for buyers and sellers to get the best deals.

What we saw was the changing behavior of car ownership.

Aaron Tan

Co-Founder and CEO, Carro

Tan wanted to change that. When he returned to Singapore in 2015, he teamed up with his classmates from the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science to come up with an algorithm that would do just that.

“I wouldn’t say I got my co-founders to jointly start the company, but I think I sold the opportunity that this could be a lot more interesting than anything they did,” Tan said.

Enter a fast-moving market

The trio was on to something. In a region with a large and growing, digitally savvy middle class, price-conscious consumers are increasingly opting for used models.

“The growing middle class combined with low car ownership rates in Southeast Asia were really the main factors stimulating new car sales and this ultimately resulted in a buoyant used car market,” Justinas Liuima, senior research consultant at Euromonitor, told CNBC Do It.

Carro car marketplace launched Singapore’s first car subscription service in 2019.


Carro took advantage of this demand and in the following years launched its online offer for private individuals and wholesalers in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. In the meantime, end-to-end financial services like lending, insurance, and aftercare have been added.

By 2019, inspired by streaming giants Netflix and Spotify, the company launched Singapore’s first car subscription service that allows users to lease a vehicle for a monthly fee, including taxes, warranty and maintenance.

“What we saw was the changing behavior of car ownership. The niche really was to find people who want that flexibility. And more importantly, they actually want to try new cars,” Tan said.

Navigating the pandemic

Then, in 2020, the pandemic struck. But what was a big hurdle for many start-ups turned out to be an opportunity for Tan and his team.

Concerns about hygiene and personal safety led to a new demand for private transportation. And with closed borders and a global scarcity of microchips restricting auto production, used car sales soared.

Covid has definitely contributed to accelerating our entire digitization internally and externally.

Aaron Tan

Co-Founder and CEO, Carro

“Covid has definitely helped to accelerate all of our digitization internally and externally for the general public,” said Tan.

The company’s various initiatives included a contactless “Showroom Anywhere” concept that enabled prospective buyers to view and test cars without direct human interaction. Instead, they could access the vehicle in a public parking lot by entering a contactless QR code.

From March 2021, Carro had sales of $ 300 million – 2.5 times higher than last year. The six-year-old start-up says it is now profitable.

The path to an IPO

However, this growth comes against the backdrop of increasing scrutiny of the auto industry.

Transportation makes up almost a quarter (24%) of the global CO2 emissions, of which 75% make up road vehicles. And even if governments and automakers make plans to abandon traditional internal combustion engine cars with electric vehicles, many existing gas guzzlers are simple exported to developing markets.

For his part, Carro said it played an important role in the transition to more environmentally friendly modes of transport.

Carro says it is helping the transition to greener modes of transportation by allowing buyers to test new cars such as electric vehicles.


“Our job is to enable this recycling or reuse of the vehicles in the shortest possible time. And the second part of it is that [electric vehicles are] a strong tailwind for us, because that promotes change. For a platform like us, we strive whenever the market changes, “said Tan.

Sustainability will be one of the many things on Tan’s agenda as he sets out to get his company public within the next 18 to 24 months. With regional expansion, AI developments and acquisitions, one thing is certain – it will be an eventful trip.

“Between now and then [we need to] Prepare the company, controls must be in place, people must be in place, compliance must be in place, “said Tan months from now.”

Do not miss: How this 32-year-old couple is putting the multi-billion dollar fashion rental industry in order

Do you like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Hickory Hill Malco Majestic Theater to be offered; leisure advanced to be constructed on the location

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Malco Majestic at Hickory Hill is on sale and what’s coming soon will be more than just movies.

Malco Majestic was put up for sale when film producer Marie Pizano was looking for space to open a film production studio.

“That was just a stroke of luck. We have about 20 acres of land and the 80,000 square meter building, ”said Pizano.

Little did she know that businessman Darnell Stitts was looking for a new showroom for electric vehicles in the same place.

“Surrounded by a food court, bowling alley, ice rink, etc.,” said Stitts, CEO of ATWEC Technologies.

The owner of Majestic suggested the two work together and a one-of-a-kind entertainment complex took shape. They call it something like Memphis has never seen.

“It’s like Universal Studios, Stax, and Time Warner rolled into one,” said Pizano.

You buy the theater and the 18 acres that surround it. Right now, all of the old equipment and movie props are being thrown away and much of the interior is being redesigned.

Phase 1 includes a dining area, theater and event center. It is scheduled to open in July.

“This is exactly where we will have our piano. We’ll have gigs here, ”said Pizano as she led us through the building.

Films will continue to be shown, but also a lot more. Some theater rooms become film sets.

“We’re going to close this here. This is our café area where the cast and crew can eat,” Pizano said when she pointed to one of the rooms.

Stitts is working on opening phase 2 by fall. It will include a sports complex with indoor soccer fields, striking areas and a sports bar.

“It would be a place where you could actually bring your family and basically have a good time doing a variety of things,” Stitts said.

A third partner will build a new hotel on the huge parking lot. Overall, it’s a $ 50 million project that is expected to create 600 jobs. Developers are looking for grants and tax incentives.

They hope to put Memphis on the map as a movie city.

“I think we will be a force to be reckoned with,” said Pizano.

On Saturday the partners will give the city guides a presentation on the development. They hope to receive the city’s support and seal of approval.

Close modally

Suggest a correction

A tidal turbine in-built Scotland is now producing energy in Japan

The AR500 turbine is waiting to be installed in waters off the Japanese islands.

A tidal turbine built and tested in Scotland was installed in waters off a chain of Japanese islands. This is the latest example of the East Asian country studying the potential of marine forms of energy production.

In a statement on Monday, London listed company Simec Atlantis Energy The pilot turbine generated 10 megawatt hours in the first 10 days of operation.

The AR500 turbine was assembled at a factory in Scotland before being shipped to Japan, where it was installed in waters off Naru Island, which is part of the larger Goto Island chain.

According to SAE, the overall project includes the leasing of tidal generation systems and the provision of offshore construction services for the Japanese company Kyuden Mirai Energy.

Graham Reid, CEO of SAE, described the installation as “a major milestone in the use of clean, renewable energy from tidal currents and we hope it will be the first of many tidal turbines installed in Japan”.

Monday’s news is the latest example of companies in Japan, an island nation with thousands of kilometers of coastline, turning to projects dealing with tidal and wave energy.

In January it was announced that the shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines would work with a company called Bombora Wave Power Scope for potential project locations in Japan and the surrounding regions.

The collaboration between Tokyo-based MOL and Bombora focuses on finding possible locations for the latter’s mWave system as well as hybrid projects combining mWave and wind energy.

In simple terms, the technology developed by Bombora, which has offices in the UK and Australia, is based on the idea of ​​using rubber membrane cells that are filled with air and attached to a structure submerged in water.

According to a video by the company describing how its system works, the “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to generate electricity” when waves run across the system.

The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as “great potential,” but adds that additional policy support is needed for research, design and development to “enable the cost reductions that come with bringing larger commercial plants up and running”.

For its part, Japan wants renewables to account for 22% to 24% of its energy mix by 2030.

In October last year, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country would target zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. By 2030, Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% compared to 2013.

However, work remains to be done to ensure that the country achieves its goals. In 2019, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said the country was “largely dependent on fossil fuels” such as coal, oil and liquefied natural gas.