SoftBank Vision Fund has invested $560 million in the German used car dealing platform, AUTO1 Group, valuing the startup at $3.5 billion. This investment indicates that AUTO1 is in no rush to launch an initial public offering to fund its pan-European growth plans.
Auto1 group co-CEO, Hakan Koç, said in a statement, “We are delighted to welcome SoftBank Vision Fund, one of the largest tech funds in the world, as an investor in AUTO1 Group. We believe that the Fund’s deep investment and technology expertise will help us to accelerate our growth as we continue to focus on making the used vehicle market more efficient and transparent.”
During the interview, Koc said that this fresh flow of funds will help AUTO1 to introduce a service that will help private car owners sell their vehicles in different countries. They will also expand a fintech venture that will offer car dealerships with loans and provide its software to more auto dealers and even car manufacturers.
AUTO1 was founded in Berlin in 2012 as an online exchange for used cars. The company buys vehicles from individuals and sells them to dealerships. The company has sold hundreds of thousands of cars on its platform. Their 2016 revenue was close to $1.8 billion. Last year, the company raised $441 million through its investors, which included Baillie Gifford & Co., Princeville Global, and Target Global.
Akshay Naheta, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisors, will be joining AUTO1’s board following the investment. “AUTO1 Group has built a fast growing, data-enabled platform introducing efficiency and transparency to the fragmented used car market, which is worth more than $300 billion annually,” said Naheta in a statement. “The SoftBank Vision Fund’s capital and our operational expertise with marketplace businesses will support continued global growth.”
This investment by SoftBank in AUTO1 is the first major deal in Germany. Led by SoftBank chief, Masayoshi Son, the Vision Fund has bought stakes in lots of companies in the last year. The list includes Uber Technologies Inc., Slack Technologies Inc. ,and Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.