The kingdom's sovereign wealth fund led the funding round for Dubai-based SellAnyCar.com, alongside Gulf Investment Corp. and Olayan Financing Co.
An online used cars auction site announced it will open 100 branches in Saudi Arabia over the next two years after it raised $35 million in a funding round led by the Public Investment Fund’s Sanabil Investments, Gulf Investment Corp. and Olayan Financing Co.
PIF has invested in regional tech start-ups including real estate tycoon and Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar’s e-commerce platform Noon.com, as well as global businesses like Uber Technologies.
SellAnyCar.com Chief Executive Officer Saygin Yalcin said expansion to Saudi Arabia will be the biggest use of funds but that the platform will also expand its product line by launching BuyAnyCar.com which allows consumers to sell to other consumers. Since its inception, it has raised a total of $50 million to date.
He also said the platform, which guarantees to buy any used car within 30 minutes, will hire 300 Saudi nationals with a focus on women, as it expects women in Saudi Arabia to become more comfortable selling their own cars if the process is done mostly online.
“We want to open 100 new branches in Saudi Arabia in the next two years. We will also hire 300 Saudi nationals.
“We expect in Saudi Arabia now that women will take the selling process into their own hands. It used to be the brother or husband,” he said.
The platform, which is already profitable according to Yalcin, has launched five branches in Saudi Arabia in the past three months.
In the UAE, it has 25 branches of which 17 are located in Dubai.
Sellanycar.com provides customers with an online car valuation and approximate car value before conducting a free car inspection at one of its branches. It then uploads the inspection report onto its online platform, where international potential buyers bid for the car.
Yalcin calls the platform “the stock exchange for cars”.
It receives billions of dollars in bids, with the highest bids being in the millions of dollars for luxury supercars like Bugatti.
The Middle East and North Africa has seen a record year for venture capital, with nearly 600 start-ups in the region having received over $700 million in funding last year, according to a MAGNiTT report.