New venture firm focused on online classifieds businesses in frontier and emerging markets
Debuts with first formal investment in Pakistan’s Zameen, acquiring 30% stake
FRONTIER Digital Ventures (FDV) has announced that it has taken a 30% stake in Zameen, Pakistan’s No 1 property portal, the first for the newly formed digital investment firm.
Launched by former iProperty group chief executive officer, Shaun Di Gregorio (pic), FDV is focused on becoming a leading investor in online classifieds businesses in frontier and emerging markets.
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the investment firm offers entrepreneurs both capital and expertise in developing, growing and operating online classifieds businesses.
Di Gregorio, who is founder and chief executive officer at FDV noted as market dynamics are constantly changing, the need for start-up companies to equip themselves with the right tools to accelerate their growth has never been more crucial.
“FDV provides just that. Along with funding, our experience, vast pool of knowledge of the online classifieds space and well established global business network, positions us as perfectly to enable and advance highly-driven entrepreneurs in frontier and emerging markets across the globe,” he said in the statement issued.
Responding to queries made by Digital News Asia (DNA), Di Gregorio declined to reveal the exact amount of investment funds FDV has at its disposal, but shared that it was in the “eight digit range" in US dollars, via its roster of founders and investors.
The announcement of FDV’s formation was made to coincide with the formalization of its first investment deal with Zameen. Di Gregoria declined to share further details on the terms of its stake in the company.
Headquartered in Lahore, Zameen was founded in 2006 by two Pakistani brothers, Zeeshan and Imran Ali Khan, and connects real estate dealers, developers, estate agencies with general buyers, sellers and renters across the South Asian nation.
With a population of 180 million people, a growing middle class and a large global diaspora, Pakistan’s growing Internet penetration – currently 10% nationwide – promises significant growth in the online classifieds space.
This growth, coupled with a booming real estate sector offering high annual returns for property owners and investors, positions Zameen at the heart of a dynamic emerging market.
Di Gregorio pointed out that the company epitomizes the kind of business that FDV is seeking to invest in.
“We love frontier and emerging markets and have a wealth of expertise and a proven track record of extracting value in the opportunities these markets present, so we are really looking forward to working with the team to take the portal to its full potential,” he added.
FDV will provide strategic direction and operational guidance to the business. In addition, Di Gregorio and Catcha Group CEO Patrick Grove, an FDV investor, will also join Zameen’s board of directors.
According to Di Gregorio, Zameen marks just the beginning of a series of investments FDV intends to make. “We already hard at work building a pipeline of similar opportunities in frontier and emerging markets globally,” he added.
For more information about FDV, click here.
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