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Carousell: The Thriving C2C Marketplace Dominating Southeast Asia

What is Carousell? Carousell is a C2C (consumer-to-consumer) marketplace that allows users to buy and sell items within their local community.

The platform is available through a mobile app and web browser, making it easy for users to browse or list items from their phone or computer. The marketplace is divided into categories, including fashion, electronics, home and living, and others, allowing users to quickly find items of interest.

Company History

Founding and Early Days

Carousell was founded in 2012 by three students from Stanford University: Quek Siu Rui, Marcus Tan, and Lucas Ngoo. The idea for the marketplace came from attending a Startup Weekend event and seeing the need for a mobile-focused marketplace.

Initially, they focused on building an iOS app to sell products, but they soon expanded to Android as well.

Growth and Expansion

Carousell’s rise has been impressive, and the company has continued to grow and expand year after year. It has formed partnerships with other companies to expand its reach and functionality, and it has received substantial funding through several funding rounds.

In 2017, Carousell acquired the C2C marketplace LetGo, which allowed it to further expand its reach beyond just Southeast Asia. The acquisition also allowed Carousell to access LetGo’s user base and technology.

In 2019, Carousell merged with 701Search, which is a joint venture between Singapore Press Holdings and Norway’s Schibsted. The merger allowed Carousell to expand its reach even further and gave it access to Schibsted’s technology and expertise.

Revenue Streams and Business Model

How Does Carousell Make Money? Carousell generates revenue through several streams, including advertising, listing fees, and in-app purchases.

Some of the other ways it makes money include:

1. Carousell Coins – These are in-app currency used to purchase additional features like Bumps, Profile Promotion, and Spotlight.

2. Bumps – This feature allows users to bump their listings to the top of search results for a limited time.

3. Profile Promotion – This feature is available to users who have received positive feedback and allows them to promote their profiles.

4. Spotlight – This feature allows sellers to promote items they’ve listed, increasing their visibility to potential buyers.

5. Listing Fees – Carousell charges a small fee for certain categories of items, such as cars or services.

6. Sale Limits – Carousell has minimum transaction amounts to prevent users from selling cheap items that are not worth the effort to sell.

Funding, Revenue, and Valuation

Venture Capital Funding

Carousell has grown into a large and well-funded company over the years. It has received funding from prominent investors such as Rakuten Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and 500 Startups, among others.

According to Crunchbase data, Carousell has raised over $430 million in funding over the years.

Revenue and Valuation

Carousell’s revenue comes from a variety of sources, including product sales, advertising, and in-app purchases. In FY2019, Carousell generated over $56 million in revenue, with a substantial portion of that coming from its merger with 701Search.

As of 2021, Carousell is valued at approximately $900 million, making it one of the most valuable startups in Southeast Asia. The company’s strong revenue and profitability have enabled it to attract significant interest from investors and potential partners alike.


In conclusion, Carousell is a fast-growing C2C marketplace that has gained incredible momentum since its launch in 2012. Its user-friendly interface, large selection of categories, and innovative revenue streams have allowed it to attract a dedicated following of buyers and sellers alike.

With continued expansion and investment, Carousell is poised for even greater success in the years to come.

User Experience and Security

How Does Carousell Work? Carousell offers a straightforward registration process that allows users to create a new listing in minutes.

Users can browse through categories of their interest or use the search bar to find specific items. The listing process involves taking pictures of the item, and then adding a title and description.

Once the item is listed, other users are able to make offers or purchase it outright. Carousell also offers buyer protection to ensure a safe and secure transaction for both parties.

If the buyer has successfully made a payment, Carousell holds the funds until the item is received. Once the item is delivered, the buyer has two days to check and confirm that the item is as described before funds are released to the seller.

This system helps prevent disputes and fraudulent transactions. In addition, Carousell has implemented a review system, allowing both parties to leave feedback and ratings regarding their transactions.

This feature provides transparency and increases trust between buyers and sellers.

Challenges and Solutions

Fakes and Scams

Like any online marketplace, Carousell has experienced its share of challenges related to fake and counterfeit products, as well as scams. These issues have resulted in some negative reputation for the platform to the point where some users call it “Carouhell.” In response, Carousell has implemented certain measures to counter such challenges.

For example, to address fake products, Carousell has set up a task force dedicated to identifying fakes and launching takedown procedures. Carousell has also added pandemic-related scams to its community guidelines to help users avoid COVID-19-related scams.

Platform Security

Carousell takes platform security seriously, implementing measures to ensure that users feel safe and secure while using the platform. To verify a user’s identity, Carousell has an ID verification process available, which enables users to confirm their identity.

For enhanced security, Carousell employs machine learning to screen listings and detect suspicious activity. Moderation personnel also manually screen suspicious accounts and listings.

These efforts have contributed to a safer marketplace experience for users.

Recent Developments

Carousell has had remarkable developments in the past few years and continues to be an exciting growth story. In November 2019, Carousell raised $100 million in a series E funding round, which officially made it a unicorn company with a valuation of $850 million.

In addition, South Korean company Naver invested $80 million in Carousell as part of the funding round. With its newfound resources, Carousell intends to expand its presence throughout Southeast Asia.

Future Plans

Looking to the future, Carousell has ambitious goals. The company has been considering either an IPO or a potential sale.

Reports suggest that these options are currently being discussed and explored as part of Carousell’s growth strategy. The Southeast Asian market remains Carousell’s primary focus, and the company is looking to expand further into the region and beyond.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

In conclusion, Carousell has come a long way since its founding in 2012. Its user-friendly platform, innovative revenue streams, and commitment to security have earned the trust of buyers and sellers alike.

Despite challenges related to fakes, scams, and other security threats, Carousell has maintained a strong position as one of the top online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. With continued funding, expanding presence, and potential strategic growth opportunities, Carousell’s future looks bright.

Carousell is a C2C marketplace that has gained incredible momentum since its launch in 2012, allowing users to buy and sell items within their local community through a mobile app and web browser. Supported by numerous venture capital funding, Carousell generates revenue through several streams, including advertising, in-app purchases, and listing fees, among others.

While facing challenges related to fakes, scams, and other security threats, Carousell has maintained a strong position as one of the top online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. With continued funding, expanding presence, and potential strategic growth opportunities, Carousell’s future looks bright.

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