Carwow has reported a £15.9m pre-tax loss for 2018 less than a week after it called for investment from car retail partners as part of a new crowdfunding initiative.
Financial results for the online car retail start-up were published via Companies House this week and revealed that pre-tax losses had increased 201% year-on-year as revenues rose 28.1% to £19.6m (2017: £15.3m).
Losses mounted as carwow continued its expansion overseas.
It said in its results statement that it had succeeded in expanding its existing operations in the UK and Germany, while entering the Spanish market and establishing a subsidiary in France which is “inactive as of today”.
During 2018, 83.7% of carwow’s revenues were earned from its UK business (£16.4m).
The group said that 2018’s trading had seen it succeed in growing its UK market share “significantly despite overall new car registrations being down 6% from 2017”.
On average 2.2m unique visitors per month visited the carwow UK website last year, up from 1.9 in 2017, it said.
Back in August carwow attracted £25m in investment led by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG, as part of a strategic round of funding.
Last week carwow urged car retailers to “join their journey” by investing in the online car retail platform via a newly-launched crowdfunding scheme.
To be launched at the end of September, the scheme will see it offer its customers and partners a unique opportunity to own a stake in the business at the same valuation as the recent Daimler-lead investment round.
To date, the business has raised £55 million from leading venture capital investors including Accel, Balderton, Episode 1 and Vitruvian and it that its new funding streams would help to “deepen its presence in Europe by investing in talent, product development and marketing”.
Carwow founder and chief executive, James Hind, said: “Following the recent announcement of Daimler leading our latest round, we had a number of partner dealers asking us if they could invest too, so we decided why not open up investment to them and to our customers.
“They are at the heart of our business, so we are excited to be able to offer them the opportunity of a piece of carwow.”