Autosheik, a classifieds site for luxury car dealers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have recently secured an unprecedented US$5m in seed funding from a syndicate of silent partners composed of European bankers. The funding was provided to acquire several support technologies to expand the website’s product offering.
Autosheik hosts a range of luxury cars that are lower than the average market price, which they are able to execute because of their extensive partnerships in the international dealer network, and a major reason how the platform has found its foothold in the market.
“The auto classified industry in the UAE is experiencing remarkable growth and since we are focused on luxury cars, it’s what differentiates us from our competitors. This new seed funding is an affirmation of our confidence in the industry and the future will bring forth interesting challenges and opportunities,” said Khaled Mazeedi, Autosheik’s founder and CEO.
Founded in 2019, AutoSheik quickly entered into the Middle East markets, surpassing the web traffic of rivals Dubicars and YallaMotors to become UAE’s largest luxury car classifieds platform. The site operates entirely independently, used by 5,000 new and used car dealerships, and sees a million unique site visits per month.
Used cars form the major vertical for Autosheik, with the platform hosting over 5,000 listings for second-hand luxury vehicles. As the economy in UAE gradually recovers, sales of used luxury cars are outpacing new ones since cautious buyers place a higher value and see less risk with used cars. This growth signals a promising outlook for the used car market and have encouraged other ventures to ride the wave, such as CarSwitch, a classifieds site that competes directly with Autosheik, and SellAnyCar, a smaller company that offers quick resell services.
In a statement to the press, Mazeedi noted, “The UAE is an important market for us. It has structural advantages which include favorable demographics, strong consumption trends, and increasing urbanization. The online auto industry is a viable proxy for the needs of transforming economies and growing middle-income populations, both of which are part of our investment themes.”
This is not the first technology business Mazeedi has valued for over US$ 1 million. The tech entrepreneur is also the founder of Swipemint, a financial company that sells premium banking services that includes metal credit cards and privilege programs. Mazeedi’s successful track record at his fintech company, Swipemint, is one of the reasons why financial backers want to reinvest into Autosheik.
This new funding for AutoSheik also comes at a crucial time as the company is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy under a new management. “We emphasize on bringing along the most reputable car dealers in the MENA region. Our major rule is that we prioritize quality over quantity and focus on building strong relationships with dealers,” said Mazeedi.
Part of Autosheik’s successful strategy is its strong relationship with dealers. Oneof Autosheik’s key clients in the UAE is the import-export trader, DA Motors, headed by CEO Zoehib Khan, which specializes in right-hand drive auctions and is the largest right-hand importer-exporter in Asia. In particular, it is Autosheik’s biggest client, Sanam Cars, with over 500 vehicles listed exclusively as inventory in which a mutually beneficial relationship seems absolutely clear. Mohsin Sanam, CEO of Sanam Cars acknowledged this strong relationship recently, saying, “It’s great to have access to platforms dedicated to only luxury cars, it keeps things simple for us dealers.”
“We are creating an unmatched car buying experience for whomever wants to deal with luxury cars. We often adapt and cater our features to what our luxury car dealers need. There are always new partnerships forming behind closed doors,” asserted Mazeedi.
“Ensuring the desires of end-users is often a big challenge in today’s highly fragmented automotive market, especially in the UAE. The new investment we’ve received will be used to grow our existing listings and also build new forms of technology to support state-of-the-art business verticals such as auto finance,” he concluded.