Car classifieds: Global success made in Berlin – an interview with Stefan Haubold (Carmudi)

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Carmudi began the year with the launch of its iOS app, secured a $25 million round of funding, set a record of over 400,000 downloads and expanded into 20 countries. Pretty awesome start of the year, isn’t it?

Carmudi, which was founded in 2014, is a vehicle marketplace that offers buyers, sellers and car dealers the ideal platform to find cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles online.

Learn more about the young business that made it from Berlin to Asia and even further. We just did an interview with Stefan Haubold, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Carmudi.

What are you excited about lately at Carmudi?

Carmudi is really an exciting company. We live and breathe cars. Whether we are opening in new markets, or creating innovative auto-related content, or updating our platform to make it easier for customers to buy and sell vehicles, we are moving in one of the hottest industries in the world.

We are excited about investing more into our product technology and scaling up operations in Asia and Mexico.

Where did the idea for Carmudi come from?

We started with an idea of how to make the car buying and selling process simpler. We saw similar business models that were successful in the US and Germany, and we felt there was a strong need for such platforms in emerging markets. We cater to this demand by bringing buyers and sellers together on a single platform.

At the end of the day, people have similar online behaviors no matter where in the world they live. Consumers will go to the internet to inform themselves before ever heading out to look at a car. I’m currently visiting our Mexico office and a dealer I met yesterday told me that already 90% of his sales are initiated through Carmudi. Global trends back this up: 65% of global online consumers plan to buy a new or used car in the next two years and demand is the strongest in Latin America (75%), Middle East/Africa (75%) and Asia Pacific (72%).

What about the competiotion?

In the market that we are in, competition is not a main issue. With internet penetration still relatively low, we are growing with the market. Any online business in the market needs to be a step ahead in the game if they want to be the leading player.

We stand out from our competitors by offering a unique product to our users. We understand that buying a car is a major decision in our customers’ lives and that is why we want to make the whole car shopping experience as easy as possible.

How did you managed to go global – and entered those markets (Asia, Africa…)  and why did you decide to focus on them?

Whenever we enter a market anywhere in the world, we assess several success factors such as huge market potential, level of Internet penetration and whether the people have the financial means to buy a car. We focus on markets of a certain size where there is huge demand, where we can be the market leaders by entering early.

What marketing strategy you consider helped your business the most?

We focus heavily on mobile, and our apps are available on both iOS and Android devices. Operating in the emerging world means that we deal with people using the Internet for the first time through their mobile devices, the exact opposite of the European way where people started accessing Internet through desktops. We also focus on online marketing, including everything from AdWords to social media. Carmudi employs a uniquely global team, in our Berlin office alone we employ 70 people from over 30 nationalities, this ensures that every aspect of our marketing is super localized.

Are there any tips you would like give those, who are just starting their business? What’s the lesson you learned?

Simply having an idea is just 10% of the whole process. The rest depends on the execution and the team behind it. At Carmudi, we have an exceptionally smart and dedicated team that continuously raise the bar to ensure our customers a super simple and hassle-free experience in selling and buying cars.

What’s the main goal you’re working on with Carmudi?

Here at Carmudi, we bring all the car showrooms, dealers, buyers and individual sellers together on a single platform. We want the whole car shopping experience for our users to be as simple as buying groceries. We are revolutionizing how people sell and buy cars online through speed and ensuring the best possible prices available.