Cars45: the innovative Nigerian e-commerce startup

Cars45 is a Nigerian vehicle e-commerce startup that is changing Nigeria’s car industry. The startup has managed to raise US$5 million in funding to grow its platform, which buys, sells, prices, and rates the condition of pre-owned cars. The platform has already conducted 10 000 inspections and auctions and has seen rapid expansion over the past year.

About Cars45

Nigerian entrepreneur Etop Ikpe co-founded Cars45 in 2016 with Iyamu Mohammed, Sujay Tyle, and Peter Lindholm. According to their website, Cars45 is “Nigeria’s largest car buying service with the goal of helping hundreds of customers to sell their cars. At Cars45 our passion is to build the infrastructure for commerce that allows sellers and buyers of Nigerian used Cars to exchange value quickly, cheaply and with unhindered access to independent relevant information required for decision making. We now have the inspection centre’s at strategic locations to make it easy for our dear customers to sell their cars.” They offer Inspection services, evaluation, pre-purchase inspection, and fleet liquidation.

The introduction of Cars45 is incredibly important in Nigeria’s car industry because it has previously been informal. “The used-car market in Nigeria is generally a big hassle. There’s so much mistrust, no vehicle history, and not much of a structured dealer network,” says Cars45 CEO Etop Ikpe.“We’ve created something that changes all that, offering transparency, speed, convenience, and safety, in a highly frictional and opaque market.”

Ikpe says, “We are easing the friction associated with selling used cars by focusing on three key areas.” These three areas are pricing; transparency; and need for speed. The main focus has been on pricing. “Through our proprietary pricing algorithm, we are able to standardize the prices associated with used cars,” Ikpe said.

In terms of transparency, Ikpe says “We run online live auctions, which gives customers 100 per cent visibility into the price offers they receive for any car we inspect at our inspection locations.”

This startups also provides speedy, effective service. Ikpe says that “On average it takes 30-45 days for consumers to sell their cars, we guarantee a price offer, or cash in the bank, in under an hour; once a customer visits anyone of our inspection locations.”

The future of African entrepreneurship

One of the investors, Sujay Tyle, co-founder of the Berlin-based Frontier Car Group (FCG), says that “Our vision was to reinvent how the used automotive sales sector operated in global emerging markets, by engaging with the best local talent and companies to help create the right infrastructure in which we could build marketplace platforms.”

He continues by saying that “When you look at the latest US$40 million Series C funding round raised by Andela – training developers across Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda – it’s clear to see that pan-African tech ecosystems will fuel economic growth for the continent as a whole, especially when Western investors such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are in on the ground floor.”

Tyle seems very optimistic about the future and Africa’s relationship with technological entrepreneurship. “Having watched Cars45 develop into one of our leading brands, we’re confident there are other emerging markets across Africa that could also become expansive marketplaces – largely thanks to the talented people already on the ground,” says Tyle. “For us, it’s just about being able to identify the next potential success stories, and strike up partnerships in those talent hotspots.”

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