A conversation with Sujay Tyle, Founder & CEO of Frontier Car Group

AUG 05, 2020

Founder Interviews

Balderton Capital first invested in Frontier Car Group, the largest online car marketplace in emerging markets, in 2016. The company was acquired by OLX Group (OLX), Prosus' classified business, in 2019.

Balderton first invested in Berlin-based Frontier Car Group in 2016 at Seed stage. We went on to lead the company's Series A in late 2016, and followed on in the $41M Series B round in 2018.

In the three years since our first investment, the company's co-founders Sujay, Peter and Andre [Sujay Tyle, Peter Lindholm, Andre Kussman] have built a formidable business, now in 400 locations in ten countries on every continent.

Daniel Waterhouse got to sit down with Sujay Tyle, co-founder and CEO of Frontier Car Group for a few minutes at the 2018 Balderton CEO Collective retreat. This article is a summary of that conversation in 2018, which can also be heard in the video linked below.

To learn more about Frontier Car Group: https://www.frontiercargroup.com/

FCG co-founders Sujay Tyle and Peter Lindholm at OLX

Sujay, what was the genesis of Frontier Car Group?

My co-founders Peter, Andre and I started FCG out of a love of emerging markets. We saw a significant opportunity — lack of venture capital dollars, which corresponds to a lack of competition in a market with massive and growing populations.

Specifically for online car marketplaces — these are the fastest growing car markets in the world, and the experiences were broken.  This is what led us to start FCG.


Sujay talked to Daniel at the Balderton CEO Collective in France in May 2018, a biennial event that Balderton hosts to bring together all the CEOs in the portfolio. 

What have you achieved recently at Frontier Car Group, and what are you most proud of?

We've grown from four to six countries, so we're now in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, and we've built the largest online used car marketplaces in four out of those six countries already.

Really what we're most proud of is the fact that we've brought venture capital dollars to these emerging markets, which has led to an entrepreneurial scene. The experience has definitely stimulated a lot of venture activity, and a lot of entrepreneurship.

I know you came to a board meeting in Nigeria, Daniel, and got to meet startups who were all tremendously excited to meet you.

The second thing I'm most proud of is our people.  Right now, we employ 740 people across the world.  Many of them had never ever been to Europe. We had a Berlin offsite, and it was such a cool opportunity to see entrepreneurs from seven different countries all in one room together.

All of these markets have their own nuances and geopolitical risk, and that's been hard. But we look on these challenges as opportunities. We've had to navigate macro-economic challenges — currency fluctuations is something we deal with on a daily basis, for example. Plus local regulation — how ownership transfers are done in. Nigeria is something probably boring to most people, but very interesting to us!

Some of the Frontier Car Group team in 2018

I'm most proud that we brought venture capital to emerging markets, and fostered an entrepreneurial community in those markets

So what has the experience being at the Balderton Collective retreat been like for you this year?

As you know, a lot of co-investors and bankers have similar events, or day events, that are often focused on a very specific category — consumer, or life sciences, or something. But I think the breadth of the Balderton portfolio, covering what we do in used cars to vertical farming, to insurance tech, to life sciences. I mean you get to explore — it's almost like a TED conference.

Sujay talking to CEO peers at the 2018 Balderton CEO Collective

With the breadth of the Balderton portfolio, this event is almost like a TED conference! You get to explore!

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