Balderton Capital leads £1.3M seed round In UK car buying platform Carwow

The site says that they are aiming to reduce the friction involved in buying a new car, with the London-based car wow allowing consumers to compare offers online and buy directly from “trusted” dealers that are registered with the platform, specifically avoiding the arduous but otherwise necessary requirement to haggle over price.

Carwow‘s business model operates as what is essentially a reverse marketplace: users “build” the car they would like to buy — specifying make and model/features etc. — and then receive offers direct from dealers. They can then quickly compare offers by price, location of the dealer, reviews of the dealer and what’s actually in stock. It’s then up to the buyer to decide whether to contact a dealer based on their offer, either by anonymous messaging through the carwow platform or by giving the dealer a call.

Carwow says it’s seen “rapid growth” since launching in May last year, claiming  that £30m worth of cars have been bought via the platform to-date. Founder James Hind says funding will be used to help establish the brand in the UK, but also to “accelerate” its international expansion.

Rob Moffat, who led the investment for Balderton Capital, will join carwow’s board. In a statement he said: “We were impressed by both the universally positive feedback from users but also from dealers who use carwow and benefit from a new marketing channel, generating large volumes of sales. We believe carwow’s powerful online platform will revitalise the new-car market which, to date, has experienced very little innovation.”