Carnegie Mellon University

Aaron Tan, Chief Executive Officer, Carro

Powering Everything Auto in Southeast Asia

Inspiration struck Aaron Tan (SCS 2010) as he waited for the bus on a frigid Pittsburgh day.

Instead of waiting helplessly for a ride that consistently ran late, he bought a “relatively fancy” car to get him to and from Carnegie Mellon University's campus — an indulgence for many college students, but a steal for someone like him used to vehicle prices in his home city-state of Singapore.

After experiencing the freedom of auto ownership, he wanted to share that joy and resource with others. So, he co-founded Carro in 2015 with two fellow Tartans. Now, the company is changing how Southeast Asia drivers research, buy and sell cars.

“Cars are super expensive in Singapore,” Aaron says. “A Toyota Corolla is at least $100,000, so it’s nearly five times more expensive than the United States.”

Aaron put his coding skills to work to find good deals on cars in Singapore. His program located and analyzed car deals, alerting him to the best buys.

The trio of founders transformed that idea into car-buying service success. Carro provides drivers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia access to listings, insights and information that previously didn’t exist in the marketplace.

The company also offers financing, insurance, rentals, service and repairs. Artificial intelligence tools play a big role in the business by driving its pricing algorithm, supporting photo inspection for used cars and connecting drivers with usage-based insurance.

Driven by the business’s focus on trust, users are responding. Carro more than doubled its year-over-year revenue in their last fiscal year to almost $500 million.

“We are bringing transparency to the buying and selling of vehicles in Southeast Asia,” Aaron says.

Story by Elizabeth Speed