Portico Capital Advises Vitruvian Partners on its Investment in carwow

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Portico Capital announced today that it served as the exclusive corporate finance adviser to Vitruvian Partners on its investment in carwow, a leading technology company serving the consumer automotive marketplace. Giles Roshier, Managing Director at Portico Capital added “carwow is revolutionising the way new cars are bought and sold in the UK. With the support of Vitruvian, the company is set to become Europe’s leading destination for car buying. We are delighted to have advised Vitruvian on this transaction, which represents Portico’s fifth deal in automotive IT in the past twelve months.”

Below are more details from the Company’s press release:

carwow raises $39 million to turbocharge growth in online new car buying

carwow, the UK’s leading new car research and buying website that is transforming the way the UK buys and sells new cars, today announced it has raised a $39 million (£30 million) round of financing to further accelerate growth in the UK and to fuel further international expansion.

The round was led by new investor Vitruvian Partners, with existing investors Accel Partners and Balderton Capital also participating. Previously, carwow has raised £18 million to fund its growth and development.

More than £2 billion of new cars have been bought through carwow since its launch in 2013, and this year around 5% of all consumer new car purchases in the UK have been facilitated by the site.

Consumers can research, select and configure new cars before receiving up-front, no-haggle offers from UK franchised dealers.  They can then compare the offers on price, location, dealer ratings and delivery time, before buying directly from the dealer of their choice.  More than a third of UK new car dealers already use carwow as a route to reaching online-savvy buyers.

The platform provides unprecedented insight into how new cars are bought and sold, and has seen a five-fold increase in the number of users considering electric or hybrid cars over the last 12 months. The funding will be used to build upon carwow’s market leading position in new car buying with further investment in marketing campaigns, building the dealer network and growing the team.

Furthermore, carwow launched in Germany in 2016 and plans aggressive international expansion following its success in this market.

carwow is fast becoming the UK’s go-to site for unbiased, consumer-oriented car reviews.  Videos on carwow’s YouTube channel, launched in April 2016, receive more than nine million views each month – more than Autocar, Auto Express, WhatCar and Autotrader combined – while two million people each month read the site’s in-depth car reviews on carwow.co.uk.

James Hind, founder and CEO of carwow said:

“We’re relentlessly focused on creating the best car buying experience which benefits consumers, dealers and manufacturers. This new funding will allow us to put even more consumers in the driving seat when buying their next car. We’ll invest even further in improving our service for our partner dealers and manufacturers, who work with us to provide consumers an excellent way to buy a new car.

We are very pleased to have Vitruvian Partners leading this new round of financing.  They bring with them much expertise in growing international consumer-facing online marketplaces, and will add a lot of value.”

Thomas Studd, Partner at Vitruvian Partners said:

“It’s clear to see the value that carwow provides consumers who are looking to buy a new car but what also became evident during the investment process are the significant benefits that carwow delivers to both its partner dealers and car manufacturers. Dealers are particularly enthusiastic as carwow’s highly qualified leads allow dealers to address the market much more efficiently – a third of all calls from carwow consumers end in the sale of a car. We are delighted and excited to partner with carwow and to help accelerate its international expansion and deepen its offering within the UK new car market.”

Portico Capital served as the exclusive corporate finance adviser to Vitruvian Partners with respect to this transaction.

About Vitruvian Partners

Vitruvian is an independent pan European private equity firm which specializes in ‘dynamic situations’- investments in companies undergoing growth and change typically driven by technology. Vitruvian helps portfolio companies scale their operations by providing an operational support system and assistance with strategic initiatives including acquisitions. Such investments to date include global market leaders in their field such as Just Eat, FarFetch, Skyscanner, Snow Software, CRF Health, Trustpilot, Voxbone, Callcredit, Ebury and others.

 In June 2017, Vitruvian announced that it had completed the fundraising of its third fund. The €2.4bn Vitruvian Investment Partnership III (“VIP III”) is among the largest pools of capital in Europe supporting innovative and higher growth companies. Vitruvian has backed 30 companies in its first two funds and has assets under management of approximately €5 billion. Vitruvian has offices in London, Munich, Stockholm, Luxembourg and San Francisco. www.vitruvianpartners.com

About carwow

carwow was founded in 2013 by James Hind (CEO), Alexandra Margolis (Creative Director) and David Santoro (CTO) to solve the major pain points for both car buyers and car dealers.

The website is visited by over 2 million car buyers every month and provides them with everything they need to make a fully informed decision on their car purchase. Consumers can build any new cars they are considering and receive up-front offers from UK franchised dealers, comparing price, location, dealer ratings and availability. That way, when they’re ready to buy they can be confident in their choice of car, the dealer they are buying from, and the price they’re paying. www.carwow.co.uk  

About Portico Capital

Portico Capital provides independent strategic and financial advisory services in the areas of mergers & acquisitions (M&A), recapitalisations and capital raisings exclusively to private and public companies in the global information and business services/software sector.  The firm, founded in 2000, has offices in Greenwich, Connecticut and London, UK. For more information, please visit www.porticocap.com

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Portico contact(s)

Giles Roshier
Managing Director
+44 (0) 203 011 0470

Tom Burton
+44 (0) 203 011 0473