With the onset of COVID-19, an unprecedented global crisis, a lot of industries are seeing a significant reduction in customer demand, whereas the used car market has gained momentum globally due to a change in personal transport preferences in a COVID impacted the world. The effect can also be seen in the context of the Indian used car market witnessing consolidation and rapid growth among players. In the most recent development, Spinny – Gurugram headquartered full stack used car platform – has acquired rival Truebil – Mumbai headquartered. Truebil operated a C2C managed used car marketplace along with a full-stack direct retail program as Truebil Direct. Truebil served in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi NCR, and was clocking INR 250 Cr+ in annual sales before the COVID outbreak. Truebil was founded in early 2015 by IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay alumni Suraj Kalwani, Ravi Chirania, Shubh Bansal, Rakesh Raman, and Ritesh Pandey. Through its journey, Truebil managed to raise a total of USD 24 Mn in funding, including USD 4 Mn in debt funding. Its major institutional investors include Kalaari Capital (India), Shunwei Capital (China & India), Kae Capital (India), Inventus Capital (US & India), and Spiral Ventures (Japan & Singapore) and in early 2019, Truebil had closed its Series B round of funding.
Gurugram headquartered Spinny currently offers its services across Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune. Spinny, which operates through a full-stack online-to-offline retail platform model, has seen significant tailwind in its business post-COVID-19 outbreak. Spinny initially started in mid-2015 through the C2C managed marketplace model, in mid-2017, it pivoted entirely to its current full-stack platform model after realizing the need to control the entire value chain to provide the best quality and a premium experience to its customers. During March 2020, Spinny announced the completion of a USD 43 Mn+ series B round led by Nandan Nilekani’s venture fund The Fundamentum Partnership: the round saw participation from existing investors Accel and SAIF Partners. Accel and SAIF Partners had co-led the company’s USD 13 Mn+ Series A round in April 2019. The latest Series B round of Spinny also saw participation from other new investors which include US-based General Catalyst and South Korea based KB Group, other than the lead investor Fundamentum. Blume Ventures led Spinny’s seed round along with Russia’s Simile Ventures. Many angel investors, along with the IAN group investors, were provided exit by the company during its Series A round of funding last year.
While both Spinny and Truebil have refrained from commenting on the commercials and exact details of the deal, Truebil’s Co-founder and CEO Suraj Kalwani did share his experience of building Truebil and the reasons behind his decision of selling out the company to Spinny. “At Truebil, we have built a technology-driven retail platform enabling trust and seamless consumer experience for used car buyers. Truebil thrived in building consumer-centric products aided by technology and data science, helping consumers make objective decisions in their used car purchase. We were operating across three major cities in India and our endeavor to scale our services across the country; we were excited to share a similar vision as Niraj and team at Spinny. We realized that by augmenting each other’s capabilities, we could accelerate towards building the country’s largest and the most trusted used car brand”. Spinny’s Co-Founder and CEO Niraj Singh said, “We like and respect the capabilities Suraj and his team have built at Truebil and find certain merit in that for Spinny, so this deal was a natural move for us. But given Spinny is still in its early days, we will let the Truebil platform keep operating as an independent brand for now. We will reassess merging within the Spinny brand umbrella after some time.”
With this acquisition, Spinny becomes the only used car startup in India that follows a full-stack retail platform model and operates on the organized side of the market. Other peers like Cars24, CarDekho, OLX, etc. provide their services mostly in the unorganized classifieds and dealer ecosystems side of the market. Commenting on Spinny’s plans, Niraj further added that building capabilities for best in class quality and customer experience has always been our top focus area. We will keep doubling down on our efforts there. Meanwhile, we will also keep going deeper into our existing markets and soon activate a few more markets.
Looking at how similar modeled players have performed across the globe, the used car market is poised to grow and emerge stronger than before from the COVID crisis. US-based online used car player – Carvana’s stock price has seen a 5x jump this quarter to an all-time high value. Not only existing listed players are reaping the benefits of these tailwinds, but also new stock market entrants are making the most of the situation. Another similarly modeled player, Vroom (US), entered the public markets in Jun’20 and saw a massive interest, so much so that it overshot its initial raise plans by ~4.5x. Its valuation almost doubled on the day of the IPO. Looking at the public market performance of such companies in the US, investors have taken an eye out for similar players across global markets. UK based Cazoo announced a new funding round that values the company at over a billion dollars, making it the latest startup to attain unicorn status in this segment and making Cazoo the fastest unicorn in the UK.