By Ankit Ajmera
(Reuters) - Online used-car startup Carvana, known for delivering vehicles through vending machines, said on Wednesday it closed a $160 million Series C funding round that brought the total raised to nearly half a billion dollars.
The company said the funding was led by a U.S. institutional investor, along with existing and new investors, but declined to name them.
Carvana, set up in 2013, said it would use the proceeds to support its expansion in the United States to more than 20 markets by the end of this year, up from 15 currently, and to double its inventory to more than 10,000 vehicles.
The company operates automated towers holding several cars. A customer can buy a car online and can either pick it up from the "vending machine" or have it delivered.
At the machine, customers are required to enter their details on a tablet, after which they get a coin. When the coin is inserted into the machine the ordered car is automatically delivered from the machine.
The company did not disclose its valuation during the latest round of funding, but said its current valuation stood at a premium of more than 50 percent to the previous fundraising round.
Carvana's valuation would have probably been a little higher in a better economic environment, Chief Executive Ernie Garcia said in a statement.
Phoenix-based Carvana reported revenue of $140 million in 2015. The company is projecting revenue of more than $350 million in 2016.
Carvana's rivals have also raised millions as the ability of online used-car startups to provide online financing and deliver cars to a buyer's home has proven to be popular.
New York-based Vroom has raised $168 million so far from investors including T Rowe Price and Priceline Group Inc Chief Executive Jeffery Boyd.
Vroom, also launched in 2013, reported revenue of $900 million in 2015.
Another competitor, Mountain View, California-based Beepi Inc, had raised about $149 million as of the end of June, with the latest round of $70 million led by China's biggest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp.
Beepi, launched in April 2014, has not revealed its revenue for 2015, but has said it increased by more than 10 times.
(Corrects 12th graph to say Beepi is based in Mountain View, California not Los Altos, California)
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)