iCar Asia will be his third listed Internet company
Promises investors aggressive revenue figures from online advertising
CATCHA co-founder and group CEO Patrick Grove (pic) will hit a hattrick of Internet listings come Sept 11 when iCar Asia Ltd, of which he is chairman, hits the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) with an opening market capitalization of around RM100 million (US$32.4million).
It would have raised RM32.3 million (US$10.4 million), but beyond the numbers, Grove can arguably make a case for being the most successful Internet entrepreneur in Asia, outside of Japan and China.
The Sept 11 date is significant to Grove too as it was on that date in 2007 that he listed iProperty.com on the ASX. Besides the happy coincidence in the listing date, iCar Asia also shares a very similar business model with iProperty.
As Grove observes, “Once you put all the pieces into place in these businesses, they grow very, very fast. This is exactly what we saw with iProperty and we are very confident we can do this again.”
This explains the aggressive growth figures he is promising investors in iCar Asia: RM3 million in revenue this year, RM10 million in 2013 and RM30 million (US$9.7 million) in 2014.
Investors are sold on the growth story too with Grove revealing that 90% of the shares already sold on the first day and the entire issue fully underwritten. Grove says a lot of these early investors are those who made a lot of money on iProperty and are happy to take a bet on Grove delivering the goods, again.
On the afternoon that Digital News Asia had a quick chat with Grove, he was handling multiples communications at the same time and loving it. The idea that the Catcha Group was about to stake a strong claim in the South-East Asian car market thrilled him.
“If you talk about competition, there is no one in this space who is playing at a regional level like us or are as well-funded,” he claims.
He is hoping the combination of the regional reach he has and large number of visitors to the portals will prove an attractive proposition to car companies and turn iCar into the leading regional online advertising destination for the car market, used or new.
Catcha looked at every market in South-East Asia and decided to focus on those where a minimum of one million cars, used and new, were transacted. “We only wanted markets where we could build a sizeable business.”
With iCar, Grove combined the leading car portals in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Catcha Media bought a 50% stake in Carlist.my, claimed to be Malaysia’s No 1 car site, this past February for RM5 million (US$1.6 million).
In May, iProperty Group sold its Indonesia car portal, mobil123.com, to iCar Asia Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of iCar Asia Ltd and part of the Catcha Group.
Autospinn is a leading online automotive site for Thai car enthusiasts and Catcha paid just under RM4 million for that with a mixture of shares and cash.
Each website will be run by its own team and deploy a country-tailored strategy. For instance, in Thailand the focus will be on new cars while in Malaysia it may be on the used car market, says Grove.
As of yesterday’s market close, iProperty had a market cap of A$171.22 million (RM554 million). Meanwhile Catcha Media Group Bhd closed with a market cap of RM71.36 million (US$23.11 million) in Kuala Lumpur. Grove is the co-founder and CEO here.
Catcha Media told Bursa Malaysia on June 30 that once iCar Asia was listed on the ASX, its 75% shareholding in iCar Asia was expected to be diluted to 40%.
And what is next for Grove, whose email sign-off describes him as the “Chief Rockstar”?
“I am still young lah. No kids. No slowing down,” he says.
Those who know him will tell you that he is probably already looking at listing No 5, much less No 4. After all, he needs to live up to his own motto “Go hard or go home.”