Thursday, 4 July 2013
Online Dubai business attracts A-list names as investors @property_finder @PFUAE
propertyfinder.ae – the UAE’s leading real estate portal – has confirmed the details of its first issuance of new capital since its founder and senior management regained control from News Corp in 2009.
This capital increase has three main objectives:
- To finance the next expansion phase of the company, which will continue to adapt and roll out its successful and profitable UAE business model in promising countries in the Middle East and Africa region
- To provide readily available capital to undertake acquisitions of related companies in target geographies and establish joint ventures in non-core markets
- To capitalise on the experience of selected private investors who, beyond their funding contribution, bring with them a successful track-record in similar private equity investments globally
“Although we are regularly approached by private equity funds, we were not seeking institutional investors at this stage”, says Michael Lahyani, founder and CEO of propertyfinder.ae. “Our funding needs are quite limited, as we have a profitable UAE business that can finance a large part of our expansion plan. Most importantly, we prefer to partner with individual investors who we have known for many years. They share our long term vision and they bring, to a young company like ours, a strong investment experience acquired in the online industry worldwide.” Renan Bourdeau, managing director and partner of propertyfinder.ae adds: “To ensure that our expansion is as efficient as possible, our new ventures across the Middle East and Africa region will share most of the technology that has been developed in the UAE, which means that the costs to start up our new operations are reasonable.”
Funds that have been injected into the company have given the investors a minority stake in the business, while the founder and senior management remain fully in charge of running the company.
Within this pool, the lead investor is BECO Capital, led by its CEO Dany Farha, who notably co-founded Bayt.com, the largest job portal in the Middle East and North Africa region and who has a strong personal track record in the regional online industry. He will play a critical role in helping propertyfinder.ae roll out its regional expansion and commented: “As an investor, you look for companies with vision and creative flair because that’s what this region was built on. propertyfinder.ae not only has this in abundance, but is also fully committed to raising the bar in terms of technology. Its platform actually competes with the best international references.”
Other investors – in a personal capacity – include Evren Ucok, co-founder of Trendyol and Peak Games, two of Turkey's fastest growing online businesses; Patrick Grove, founder, and Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of iProperty Group, the leading property portal in Asia; a few selected US-based investors out of Silicon Valley; and Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, CEO of the largest private equity firm in emerging markets says: “I was very impressed with the pedigree of propertyfinder.ae’s management team, leadership style and corporate culture.”
The past few years have seen a phenomenal success story unfold for the UAE-based property portal. In the last three years alone the company has witnessed an impressive 85 per cent growth rate per year. It now employs over 60 people across its four offices in the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon. propertyfinder.ae plans to open in five more countries by early 2014.