Tanzania’s general classifieds site Kupatana.com has raised an undsiclosed funding from Malaysia’s Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) to consolidate its number one position in Tanzania, and bolster its operations in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Kupatana is Swahili for meeting and the firm connects buyers and sellers just like Naspers-Backed OLX and the recently launched Rocket Internet-backed Vendito and Ringier’s ZoomTanzania. The firm has not said anything about the Kenyan market but because it already operates the Kupatana.co.ke domain, there’s a likelyhood that it will quietly launch in Nairobi soon.
In May, the general classifieds listing site claims to have over 120,000 classifieds listings, over 720,000 visits and 4.82 million page views plus over 3.30 million mobile app screen views in a country with over 6.1 million internet users.
Shaun Di Gregorio, founder and CEO FDV said the fund will utilize its extensive resources and expertise to solidify Kupatana.com’s dominance in the Tanzanian market and as well help the firm grow.
“One of our target frontier regions is East Africa and the team at Kuapatana.com has made huge steps in building a great business that is the clear leader in Tanzania, growing rapidly in Uganda and with an expanding presence in the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Burundi.” Di Gregorio said in a statement.
With nearly 50 million people, and the fifth most populated country in sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania represents one of the world’s most economically desirable frontier markets said the firm adding that it’s on course to invest in 30 disruptive digital businesses in Central America, Middle East & North Africa, East Africa, West Africa and South Asia and is committed to building e-commerce and online classifieds businesses in these regions.
Shaun Di Gregorio, a former CEO of ASX listed company, iProperty Group (ASX: IPP) is known for spearheading the transformation of iProperty Group from a small online business with a market capitalisation of US$15 million into the largest listed Internet company in ASEAN with a market capitalisation of US$600 million.
Under Shaun’s leadership, iProperty Group experienced growth in all key metrics, achieving revenue growth by 500 per cent and clientele exceeding more than 25,000 agents. Profitability was also achieved, with the business becoming cash flow positive, while the share price increased by 4000 per cent giving shareholders a 15 times return on investment on the original AU$0.25 price per share.
Earlier, Shaun was General Manager at Australia-based REA Group, a firm operating over 20 real estate websites in 12 countries. He grew ‘realestate.com.au’ with his eight-person team and AU$5million revenue into a company with more than 300 staff and revenues exceeding AU$150 million.
He is now a non-Executive Director of iCar Asia, Asia’s leading operator of online automotive portals, and FDV has invested in firms such as propertyfinder.ae, MyanmarcarsDB, Pakwheels.com, Zameen.com, iMyanmarhouse.com among others. His valuable experience will bring the much need vigor to the East African tech scene dominated by Naspers, Ringier and now Rocket Internet.
Update: The earlier version of the story had indicated that FDV is a Singapore-based firm. We’ve since corrected that to Malaysia where the firm was founded in 2014 and is still based.