How 3 college friends built a $1 billion business selling used cars

While the auto resale market was flourishing in the U.S., the same couldn’t be said for Southeast Asia. It was famously opaque, with several middlemen making it difficult for buyers and sellers to get the best deals.

Tan wanted to change that. So, returning to Singapore in 2015, he teamed up with his classmates from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science to create an algorithm that would do just that.

“I wouldn’t say that I tricked my co-founders into founding the company together, but I think I sold the opportunity that this could be much more interesting than whatever they were doing,” said Tan.

The trio was onto something. In a region with a vast and growing, digital-savvy middle class, price-sensitive consumers were increasingly opting for second hand models.