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  • William Auwines

A Reflection: Prudent Exit or Early Exit

Picture yourself as a new parent on the brink of embarking on the daunting journey of raising a child. Peering into the innocent eyes of your newborn and embracing this fragile little soul, a flood of emotions sweeps over you - a potent blend of love, a sense of optimism for what awaits them, and a profound sense of duty. It is at this moment that the parallel between nurturing this cherished life and how we nurture our portfolios at Kolibra Capital becomes strikingly apparent.

In 2018, Carsome approached us with its aspirations to expand into the Indonesian market, we recognized the uniqueness of its business model among competitors. Much like the exhilaration of witnessing a newborn baby, we were very bullish about its future. In a similar manner to how parents are tasked with fostering a nurturing environment that promotes the growth and development of their children, we identified new promising opportunities for Carsome and provided unwavering support. Through the better market penetration strategy and reorganization we recommended, Carsome thrived, becoming Indonesia's leading used car marketplace. This results in at least a staggering 2.5x annual revenue growth in Indonesia alone.

As children mature and venture into adulthood, parents face the bittersweetness of letting them go. When Carsome approached the pinnacle of its new milestone, we made the decision to exit and usher them to lead a new life as the first unicorn in Malaysia. Despite the prospects for its future growth, we believe bidding farewell at that time was the right choice. By doing so, we realized and delivered the real return to our Limited Partners.

Recently, we heard reports from various news outlets revealing that Carsome now seeks assistance from the Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister, Steven Sim, to be recommended as investment recommendations to state-owned investment firms and agencies. News of employee layoffs since 2022 has further amplified concerns, although its Chief of Staff dismissed these allegations as “coordinated attacks” by a rival group. The recent challenges with our former portfolio serve as a reminder that external factors can impact the trajectory of any venture, much like unexpected obstacles that arise in a child’s life. In hindsight, our past decision to exit shows our ability to foresee the market movement and stick to our fundamentals, proving that we are able to deliver quality results.

The year 2023 is a challenging year for everyone, not only for Carsome. We wish all startups, especially Carsome, to overcome the challenges that the current economy and market pose. Like the enduring care and concern a parent holds for their child, even after they have flown the nest, we wish Carsome the best of luck in its future endeavors.

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