CarSwitch.com, one of the UAE’s marketplaces for certified used cars, has secured $1.3 million investment from Glowfish Capital, an early stage incubator, it said in a statement.
“The investment demonstrates that the emirate is providing a strong testing ground and the support structure for young businesses and innovators”, it said.
CarSwitch.com has taken a new spin on traditional brick and mortar used car dealerships with the aim of helping to address the challenges faced by sellers and buyers alike in the UAE, the startup said.
For sellers, CarSwitch.com takes on the process from start to finish, which includes advertising, collecting calls, arranging test drives and closing the paperwork. The firm runs its own proprietary 200-point inspection on its online portal to provide transparency in the marketplace, while adding a warranty to every car.
This results in peace of mind for the buyers who ultimately purchase directly from end sellers.
Founded in 2016, by former McKinsey & Company consultants, Imad Hammad and Ali Malik, CarSwitch.com has been growing at 30% month on month.
It is now looking to cement its first-mover advantage in Dubai and neighbouring cities.
“The broader region represents an annual $18 billion opportunity, with the UAE alone representing $2.5 billion. Yet, it’s still an opaque experience for most sellers and buyers, as there is limited reliable information on used car prices, history and condition,” said Imad Hammad, founder and CEO of CarSwitch.com.
Though buyers could ask sellers to inspect the car before purchase, it results in a time consuming shopping process. The idea of pre-inspections available online goes a long way in streamlining the process for both parties, he said.
With the transparency CarSwitch.com offers online, it is able to close deals within one to three test drives, according to Hammad.
“We plan to expand the premium customer experience through extended operations and technology enablement,” Hammad said.
This includes the launch of iOS and Android Apps, an online valuation tool, and a concierge desk to secure insurance and financing needs, amongst other priorities, he added.
Since going live, CarSwitch claims to have interacted with over 6,000 sellers and counting, reinforcing the growing online services sector in the UAE.
“This builds on the momentum of several start-up ventures across verticals, from Careem for transport, Fetcher for logistics, ServiceMarket.com for home services, Washmen for laundry, and many others,” Hammad said.
The world is rapidly moving online, and Dubai is keeping pace with the entrepreneurial spirit of its residents, he added.
A spokesperson for Glowfish Capital said, “CarSwitch has shown impressive growth in a short period of time and we are confident that this round of funding will continue to fuel its rapid acceleration.”