Japan’s Softbank has purchased a one-fifth stake in Auto1, Germany’s largest used car trading platform, and has ambitious plans to bring the company to the US and Asian markets to sell second-hand cars in concert with ride-hailing app Uber, which it also controls.
“We plan to turn Auto1 into a global company,” said Rajeev Misra, a former Deutsche Bank executive who now runs Softbank’s Vision Fund. “We want to take the company to the US market, to China and Japan.”
Auto1, which is now valued at €2.9 billion ($3.6 billion) after Vision’s €460 million purchase of 20 percent of the company’s shares, has joined the ranks of so-called startup “unicorns” worth more than $1 billion. In Europe, it is behind only music streaming app Spotify, valued at $16 billion, and the UK’s Global Switch, which is valued at $7 billion, according to CB Insight, a consultancy that specializes in startups.