Summary List Placement
Serial entrepreneur Alex Chesterman could be in line for yet another major exit.
Cazoo, a used-car marketplace, which reached a $2 billion valuation after less than two years of operation, is in talks to go public via a SPAC, according to Sky News. The company would have a mooted valuation of around $6 billion in another coup for one of Europe’s most famous entrepreneurs.
Chesterman is behind successes including film streaming site LoveFilm; property aggregator Zoopla; and is now the CEO of Cazoo. LoveFilm sold to Amazon, while Zoopla went public after tapping into the British obsession with house prices.
A Cazoo spokesman told Insider on Monday that the firm had sold almost 20,000 cars through its platform to date, adding: “As one of the UK’s fastest growing businesses, with revenues of over £200 million since launch, it is not surprising that there is speculation around whether or when we might IPO but we do not comment on speculation and should we have an announcement to make on this or any other matter we shall do so at the appropriate time.”
Cazoo’s founder sold around £100 million ($140 million) worth of his position in Cazoo in September 2020 as part of a £240 million ($337 million) round, the Times reported.
We spoke to Chesterman about his success. The interview was originally published in October 2020. Read on for his thoughts on fundraising through adversity and the changing European tech ecosystem.
Alex Chesterman built Zoopla out of the financial crisis
COVID-19 is a black swan event that risks tanking startups, but some founders see echoes in previous adversity.
“Our first funding round came as Lehman Brothers collapsed,” recalls Chesterman of his funding round for Zoopla. “It was the worst time for anyone to raise funds, let alone for a property business.”
Getting that market online and then strategically buying up all but a few competitors led to near total dominance of the property classifieds market which previously existed primarily in print. The business floated in 2014, before being taken private by Silver Lake.
“We wouldn’t have built the business we did if it wasn’t for the financial crisis,” Chesterman continues. “Everyone else was running to the exit which meant we could run to acquisitions.”
He sees parallels with 2020.
His current project, Cazoo, is a used car marketplace which recently surpassed a valuation of $2 billion.
“It’s a similar situation to 2008,” the entrepreneur says. “Opportunities have been created for businesses to go faster, particularly the offline to online behaviour shift. I’ve always believed that great businesses are built in the most challenging times.”
Chesterman’s conviction has won him investors who have stuck with him for years. Between his various startups, he has raised more than $560 million in venture and equity funding.
Part of why Chesterman has stood out is that he has achieved something comparatively rare in European tech — built successful consumer tech startups.
“When you’re investing at the early stage you’re making a judgement on a person,” Alliott Cole, CEO of Octopus Ventures and a backer of all …read more
Source:: Business Insider
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