So are you thinking of buying a car ? Have you asked everyone you know for an advice? Are you still unsure of whether you are making a right decision? Carwale is the place you need to logon to! Every 1 out of 4 Indian car buyers is visiting Carwale before making a decision!
Carwale was founded in Bhopal in 2005 by Mohit Dubey , Tufail Khan , Gaurav Verma and Arun Sahlam. The company that was originally founded to provide dealer manager solutions to help car dealers automate their processes today provides car buyers with exhaustive and unbiased information on cars and comprehensive tools like used car price guide, compare cars tools, on-road price quotes for over 300 Indian cities.
As the 4 founders were developing this dealer management software they realized that there was a huge gap in the car market. The demand and supply of cars was not connected and was highly unorganized. So they decided to create a centralized inventory of cars that all dealers within the city can have access to. However this required that all dealers share their inventory with Carwale and the dealers were just not ready to do that. In Oct 2005, the founders at Carwale decided to anyways go ahead and publish whatever inventory they had and that is how Carwale was born.
Challenges did not end there for the founders. Dealers now refused to reach out to buyers enquiring on CarWale about their cars as this compromised their bargaining power. However as they started getting more and more leads from Carwale they finally woke up to this idea. In 2005, Carwale only provided information around used cars. In 2006 the company started providing information around new cars as well. Today 75% of the site’s traffic is focused around new cars.
Since its inception in 2005, the company has grown exponentially with a YoY growth rate of 80%. Their revenues come from 3 primary areas namely advertising (Almost every car brand available in the country advertises on Carwale today, other than brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini who work with a very unconventional branding model) , revenues coming from dealers ( dealers advertising on Carwale, dealers buying leads from Carwale, specialized digital marketing services for dealers etc. Carwale also has an exclusive alliance with Google in the automotive space to help dealers get leads from search), and revenue from other services. Other than the India market, Carwale is also helping car brands in Singapore, South Korea and the Middle East by providing services in its area of expertise.
Carwale is owned by Automotive Exchange Private Limited. It is a part of the Axel Springer Group, one of Europe’s leading media houses. Starting with the four founders, the team has grown to a size of 380 today and plans to reach a count of 450 by the end of the year. The company now operates mainly from Mumbai and has staff presence in more than 30 Indian cities. Mohit is now the CEO of the company, Tufail is the Vice President and Head of classifieds whereas Gaurav is the Vice President and takes care of dealer solutions. Arun left the Carwale sometime ago to start a new venture in the medicine space. The company also takes immense pride in the fact that first 4 employees recruited by Carwale in its initial days in Bhopal are still with the company and now hold very senior positions at Carwale.
Like most other business, mobile is changing the rules of the game at Carwale too. They today get nearly 11 million visits and more than 80 million page views every month.”Although traffic is mostly driven from cities such a Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, small town growth has been rapid in the last few years. Mobile is changing things rapidly,” says Dhruv Chopra, Chief Marketing Officer at Carwale.”A little less than 2 years ago we launched our site for mobile. At the end of 2012 mobile traffic was just 4% of the total traffic. Today mobile traffic is 55% of the total traffic and is expected to go to 70% of the total traffic by March next year. 7 out of 10 new users are from mobile,” he adds.
After their success in the Car space, the company has now ventured into the Bike market. In 2012, Carwale started a sister company called Bikewale.com. The Bike market is 5 times the size of car market. It comes as no surprise that in its first 2 years Bikewale has grown more than Carwale grew in its first 6 years.
Carwale is currently focusing on a massive branding and advertising campaign to create a very very strong brand presence in this country. They have a long term commitment to grow in India and their mass media campaign is being carried through newspapers and television advertisements. The company is also focusing on digital marketing channels and using social media for customer engagement. Branding will remain its focus area for the next 3-4 years.”Our product and operations are in place, all we need now is a top class brand presence in the country. Then we are set,” says Dhruv. Set for an IPO? We ask. “You never know!” comes the reply.