A JAPANESE conglomerate is investing around £409m in German online car dealer Auto1, in what will be one of the biggest funding deals ever made by a German start-up.
SoftBank will make the investment through Vision Fund – a £67bn Arab-backed technology fund that is partially managed by the conglomerate.
The investment, which will be SoftBank’s first in Germany, will see Auto1 become the country’s second most valuable start-up, behind Spotify.
When the investment has been completed, SoftBank will own 20 per cent of Auto1, meaning the company will be valued at approximately £26bn.
The online dealer, which was started in 2012 and operates in 30 countries with more than 35,000 partners, sells at least 40,000 vehicles every month. It puts this success down to technology that uses analytics and logistics to match supply and demand across Europe.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Hakan Koç, co-chief executive and co-founder of Auto1, said: ‘This gives us a big lever when it comes to rolling out new products and services.
‘Our platform is a piece of the puzzle that fits very well into that strategy. This is not a purely financial investment. There is a common strategy behind it.’
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