carwow gears up for expansion with £12.5m investment

Young Gun-founded start-up company secured the Series B round with backing from Accel, Balderton, Samos and Episode 1

carwow, the car comparison site featured among the top 100 start-ups of 2015, has bagged £12.5m funding in a Series B round led by Accel Partners.

Existing investors Balderton Capital, Samos Investments and Episode 1 Ventures also participated in the deal, following a £4.6m Series A round in December of last year.

Launched in 2013 by Young Gun founders James Hind, Alexandra Margolis and David Santoro, Holborn-based carwow promises to take the hassle out of buying a new car by comparing deals from rated and approved dealerships. Users can theno select everything from colour, engine and price to see the most competitive offers in their local area.

The site is free for customers – it claims over 15,000 new car buyers have used its site to date – with carwow charging the dealership for every sale completed through the platform.

It will use this latest investment to support “brand-building” and marketing and will also look to improve its service with the addition of new products and offerings.

carwow CEO Hind commented on the news:

“We’re excited to roll out our service even further on the back of strong growth in 2015. A new car is an important purchase, typically a person’s biggest after their home. At carwow, we enjoy working with the industry to make things simpler and more efficient for all involved. This new round of funding gives us the firepower we need to change the way the UK buys cars.”

As part of the deal, Accel’s Fred Destin will be joining the start-up’s board of directors.

Destin continued: “carwow reminds me of Zoopla in the early days – they’re changing the discovery experience through a superb online platform and better information and are creating a win-win for consumers and dealers, brought to you by a wonderful founding team.”

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  1. Cant see how the investors fell for this – Broadspeed was doing the same thing more than 10 years ago – it is hardly revolutionary punting consumers information out to dealers.

    Couple of reasons it will fail –

    1. If it ever became a remote threat all a dealer has to do is put a sign in the window stating: We will beat any CarWow price
    2. The more dealers it gets on board the more fruitless quotes they will have to generate only to get undercut by another CarWow dealer.
    3. There is no transparency on the rather large commissions being charged by CarWow – those could be potentially be passed on as savings to consumers
    4. Web shoppers are invariably trying to find something that is quite difficult to locate – non CarWow dealers will eventually not trade vehicles
    5. Once all the millions in investment capital have been spunked on the lame TV advertising it will disappear out of site

    My twopenneth