Seven West Media (ASX: SVM), Perth-based billionaire Laurence Escalante and a former Audi Australia exec are among the investors backing online car reviews, news and sales website Carexpert.com.au, which has moved up a gear to an annual revenue run rate of $10 million.
The company was established by Anthony Crawford, Alborz Fallah and Paul Maric in 2020, the latter two having sold their previous business CarAdvice.com.au to Nine Entertainment (ASX: NEC) for $60 million in 2018.
The latest $5.1 million capital raising round closed in December will help Sydney-based CarExpert in its push into Western Australia, and gives the group a post-money valuation of $42 million.
CarExpert has also been bulking up its executive and board. The group snapped up Damon Rielly as its CEO last year after he had previously led ASX-listed iCar before it was sold to Malaysia-based CarSome for more than $200 million, and has today announced the appointment of former Audi Australia chief customer and marketing officer Nikki Warburton to its board as a non-executive director.
The new director - who has extensive automotive experience, insights and knowledge - is also the wife of Seven West Media CEO James Warburton, and took part in the capital round contributing an undisclosed sum.
"I look forward to working with the highly passionate CarExpert team to shape the growth agenda and continue to build the reputation as Australia’s most trusted and respected car expert," she said.
Nikki Warburton has more than 25 years’ experience in senior executive and board roles with a strong track record of delivering tangible business results across a range of industries from automotive, advertising to subscription TV.
She was most recently CMO at Audi and is currently a non-executive board director of the GWS Giants (AFL), a non-executive board director at MA Financial Group (ASX : MAF), strategic advisor at Automotive Superstore and a mentor with the Marketing Academy.
Nikki was at Audi for three years where she was responsible for marketing, product, digital, corporate communications and the customer operations centre. In that time she built a high performing team, lead a digital transformation, launched e-commerce capabilities and drove Audi to be the fastest growing premium brand in 2020.
Before that she was at AUSTAR for more than a decade with responsibilities in product, sales and marketing. Prior to that Warburton began her career at ASTRE Automotive, the Australian distributor for Audi, Hyundai and Chrysler Jeep, where she took Hyundai to become the number 1 car importer in Australia.
"I’m really excited and proud to welcome Nikki to the CarExpert Board. Nikki’s expertise in the automotive industry and insights into what makes OEM’s, New Car Dealerships and New Car buyers tick will provide us an even greater understanding in building market leading products," says CarExpert CEO Damon Rielly.
"Nikki’s active involvement in the Australian business community will help build CarExpert's reputation as Australia’s leading online new car marketplace’."
CarExpert is now aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2024.
"Our revenue has more than quadrupled in the last 12 months and as we look to continue our growth trajectory, we are seeking the very best people to help make that happen and having someone of Nikki's calibre on the board is fantastic news for all of us at CarExpert," says co-founder Alborz Fallah, who alongside Paul Maric won the PR, Media and Events category at the 2022 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Awards.
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