SoftBank’s Vision Fund backs online car marketplace Auto1

SoftBank’s Vision Fund – the largest ever focused on tech backing Auto1, a Berlin-based online marketplace for buying and selling cars.

It is investing €460m in the five-year-old startup, one of the most highly valued in Europe at €2.9bn with the fresh investment and already backed by Baillie Gifford, DST Global and Princevile Global.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund was created by boss Masayoshi Son, who has outlined his ambitions to become the Warren Buffett of tech. Based in London but investing globally, it is backed by the likes of Apple, Qualcomm and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

SoftBank has recently taken a stake in Uber, billion dollar messaging platform Slack and office space startup WeWork. In the UK it has backed virtual development platform Improbable.

Auto1 operates in 30 countries across Europe and partners with 35,000 dealers, selling 40,000 cars each month.

“We are delighted to welcome SoftBank Vision Fund, one of the largest tech funds in the world, as an investor in Auto1 Group said co-chief executive Hakan Koc.

“We believe that the fund’s deep investment and technology expertise will help us to accelerate our growth as we continue to focus on making the used vehicle market more efficient and transparent.”

Akshay Naheta, a partner at the fund who will join the startup’s board, said: “Auto1 Group has built a fast growing, data-enabled platform introducing efficiency and transparency to the fragmented used car market, which is worth more than $300bn annually. The SoftBank Vision Fund’s capital and our operational expertise with marketplace businesses will support continued global growth.”

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