Is $1.2Bn CarDekho Becoming a Unicorn Conglomerate?

In the past fortnight, InsuranceDekho, a sister company of CarDekho, successfully completed the acquisition of IRSS, following a substantial $150 million fundraising effort during the startup winter.

The entrepreneurial journey of brothers Amit and Anurag, born on the same day but two years apart, reflects a striking resemblance. Both IIT Delhi graduates, they chose to deviate from their family’s jewelry business upon returning to Jaipur in 2007 to care for their grandparents.

Recognizing that the family business wasn’t their calling, the brothers secured software development opportunities through former bosses, generating ₹10 million in revenue in the first year. While logical, doubling down on this business wasn’t their sole focus. Familiar with India’s growing consumer landscape, they reinvested profits into diverse experiments, including online astrology, silver jewelry, virtual stock trading, and eventually, car sales. CarDekho emerged as the successful venture.

Similar to Zomato, CarDekho initially digitized car-related information, becoming the leading online platform for car details by 2010. Carmakers began advertising on their portal, and the platform evolved to sell leads for car purchases. By 2021, a staggering 85% of Indians visited CarDekho’s website before buying a car. Expanding beyond used car sales, CarDekho ventured into insurance with InsuranceDekho.

CarDekho achieved unicorn status, with Amit making an appearance on Shark Tank and assuming a mentoring role for aspiring founders. The question now arises: Can CarDekho, along with its affiliated companies, create a unicorn conglomerate?