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Building Economies Of Scale At Cars24

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Mehul Agrawal, 

Co-founder & COO, Cars24
age: 37
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MEHUL AGRAWAL, co-founder and COO of Cars24, India’s largest used-car platform, spends a significant amount of time building the company’s overseas businesses. The pre-owned car company started international expansion during the pandemic. Now, almost 30% of its revenues come from outside India. Australia is its biggest overseas market followed by Thailand and the U.A.E. Cars24 has invested between $50 million and $100 million in each of these markets.
Yet, India remains the core of what Cars24 is building. That’s because the $25 billion used-car market in the country is unorganised and underpenetrated. “Out of 1,000, only 30-35 people own a car in India. In the Western world, this would be 800-900. That’s the scope of India,” says Agrawal.
Over 4 million new cars were sold in the country last year (excluding exports), making it the third-largest auto market by volume. The used-car market is one and a half times bigger at 6-7 million, says Agrawal. Cars24 sold about 3 lakh cars last year, cornering a 5% share in India’s used car market.
“Every used car is unique. The make, model, variant, year, colour, insurance, and repairs make the car different. Pricing it is a game of data. We have got so much data in the last 10 years. This is our moat which no other firm will be able to build easily,” says Agrawal.
The company’s topline grew 8% YoY to ₹5,535 crore in FY23, while losses narrowed by 57% to ₹468 crore.
“FY23 was a year for us to focus on economics. We made sure that growing beyond this point is not becoming an expensive choice of burning money and how can we get to the break-even faster,” says Agrawal. “Our global burn across markets came down by almost 80%. So that became the core agenda. When we look at growth, it is not just vanity metric of how many cars and how many transactions. Eventually, a business is there to create money. We are not here to create valuation,” he says.