Car-Fin, a Russian startup developing innovative solutions for online car brokers, announced last week that it secured $400,000 in funding from investment fund Prostor Capital and the Moscow Seed Fund, the venture investment vehicle of the Moscow city authorities.
The startup is a graduate of GTI Labs, the business accelerator launched last year by investment consulting company Global TechInnovations and Prostor Capital. GTI Labs initially provided Car-Fin with a pre-seed investment of $25,000, which was followed by a further $50,000 investment from the Microsoft Seed Fund.
Inspired by such Western models as the financial offers of Cars.com, Edmunds.com or Financeacar.com, Car-fin is an early mover on the domestic market, Global TechInnovations’ PR and communications manager Maria Nataeva told East-West Digital News.
The Russian market is characterized by very low penetration of online services for car owners, Nataeva said.
Car-Fin said that it hoped its new solutions, which allows users to compare car prices and shop around for various credit and insurance offers, would provide a boost to the automobile industry in general.
“By saving time, money and effort the chances that the customer will make a positive buying decision increase many-fold, which in turn will have an overall positive impact on the car sales industry,” Car-Fin co-founder and commercial director Grigory Petrov said.
Among the startup’s online competitors are non-specialized services such as Banki.ru and Sravni.ru. Local car market sites, such as bazar-auto.ru, also provide access to similar comparison and credit services. Nataeva noted, however, that the strongest competitors are dealerships’ own in-house brokers.
Car-Fin said it had already signed contracts with several banks, leasing companies and dealerships. Its plans for 2013 include expanding geographically to every region within Russia.
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