The founder of property search website Zoopla has invested in a website which aims to help car buyers in the way he has helped house buyers.
Alex Chesterman, founder and chief executive of the online property giant, is one of three Zoopla directors to have helped to inject £1.3m of funding into Carwow.
Carwow, which was founded by 27-year-old James Hind, began life as a car research site but has morphed into a platform to help buy new cars from franchised dealers. The investment was led by Balderton Capital, the London-based venture capital firm which has made something of a name for itself investing in technology companies at an early stage. Successful investments to date include Lovefilm, which was bought by Amazon for close to £200m, and Wonga, the technology-based consumer finance company. Other new backers include Episode 1 Ventures, which has backed Betfair and Shazam, and Samos Investments, whose investments have included Ocado and Kabbee.
In addition to Mr Chesterman – who is in the process of floating Zoopla with a price tag of as much as £1.3bn – other angel investors include serial investor and Zoopla non-executive director Simon Murdoch and Doug Monro, the founder of classified advert site Adzuna and Zoopla's chief operating officer.
The aim of Carwow is to make car buying easier, and to provide information to prospective purchasers. It attempts to give users control in their relationship with dealers, ending the need for face-to-face bartering, and ranks past response time and gives feedback on rogue dealers. The site launched in beta in May 2013, and has seen cars worth £30m purchased through online transactions. The funding will be used to expand the six-man team, who run the business from an office in London's Holborn, with the aim of launching internationally. Mr Hind confirmed the investment, saying he was confident the investment will help carwow to grow in the UK and overseas.
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