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Online Marketplace Carousell Reveals $85M Investment Boost, Makes ‘AI-First’ Pledge

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Carousell co-founder and CEO Siu Rui Quek

Singapore-based e-commerce platform Carousell announced Monday that it had raised $85 million in Series C funding led by Rakuten and EDBI — a timely boost to its coffers as it improves its fast-growing classifieds app and innovates in spaces like artificial intelligence.

After launching in 2012, Carousell now operates in seven markets across Asia, with more than 144 million listings ranging from cars to electronic gadgets.

Much of the company’s focus to date has been around its “smart” listings, specifically the integration of predictive and automated capabilities in the buying and selling process. And the latest cash injection will allow it to invest in new talent and deep technology innovations to elevate the Carousell marketplace, the company said.

“Our Series C round is the largest raised in the classifieds space regionally,” Carousell co-founder and CEO Siu Rui Quek told Forbes. “The additional capital will be used to cement our leadership in Southeast Asia by accelerating our innovation to be ahead of the curve. Product leadership is critical and we are investing in the technology and world-class talent required to support our next phase of growth — from mobile-first to AI-first.

“We’re actively looking to expand our expertise in areas of data science, machine learning and many other emerging fields. We believe AI will greatly improve the overall classifieds experience for our users. We’ve already begun leveraging AI and machine learning to bring greater value to consumer lives, with several product updates rolled out last year.

“As we deepen our expertise in AI and machine learning, we hope to derive practical insights that help our users buy and sell more effectively. This means creating more personalized experiences so buyers can find relevant items; simpler, smarter listings and chat prompts to help sellers sell faster.”

In addition to Rakuten and EDBI, Carousell said they were supported by current investors 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and Sequoia India, as well as new investor DBS.

The company raised $35 million during its Series B round in 2016.

 

Original article appeared on Forbes.