Frontier Digital Ventures invests more in Encuentra24

19 Dec 2016

With a mission to become the leading operator of online classifieds businesses in frontier markets across the globe, Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) injected fresh cash into Encuentra24.com (E24), a strong competitor in the classifieds arena of Central America.

The money will be used to accelerate E24’s monetization and boost its market position against the competition. FDV exercised its option to take up new shares in Encuentra24.com AG, thereby increasing its stake in E24 from 34.9 percent to 38.7 percent.

The option was exercised after Encuentra24.com (E24) exceeded key performance indicators, including growth in advertisers, listings, monthly site visits, revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

FDV made a successful entrance to the Australian Stock Exchange in August. A core focus of the group is to provide funding for investee companies, as well as give strategy and operations direction for these companies.

E24 is one of the leading general classifieds sites in a potentially high-growth Central American market. E24 operates in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. These markets have growing populations and rising internet penetrations.

E24 lists general classifieds, autos and properties

According to data provided by FDV, E24’s total listings have increased by 38 percent since December 2015 to more than half a million at the end of November 2016. Monthly site visits have also grown by more than 50 percent in the same period to 5.7 million visits in November 2016.

FDV’s co-founder and CEO, Shaun Di Gregorio said: “Our partners in the region, Boris Metraux and Wendy Jordan, are ‘A grade’ entrepreneurs and continue to do an outstanding job in growing the business. We’re excited to be in partnership with such capable entrepreneurs, and look forward to Encuentra24 dominating the region.”

FDV’s strategy is to partner with local entrepreneurs operating market-leading online classifieds businesses in frontier markets, and offer its management and operating expertise, as well as financial resources to accelerate the growth and leadership position of each operating company. As each business grows and matures, FDV considers whether it should take a higher stake.

FDV has a portfolio of 15 operating companies, including market leaders with an early-stage advantage in either the auto, real estate or general classifieds space. Its sites and companies include CarsDB.com and IMyanmarHouse.com in Myanmar; Zameen and PakWheels.com in Pakistan; MeQasa in Ghana, and AfriBaba.com in French-speaking Africa.

The companies span 19 frontier markets including Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique and Morocco. Founding shareholders Shaun Di Gregorio and Patrick Grove and Luke Elliott of Catcha Group, have been working together for more than six years. Catcha Group has floated four companies in its portfolio on the ASX.

Encuentra24 competes with a number of regional and global classified players, including Navent’s CompreoAlquile in Panama, La Nacion’s BuscoMiCasa in Costa Rica, MercadoLibre, as well as Naspers’ OLX.

These are just a couple of leading players operating in the Central American region. CompreoAlquile is a top-3 real estate classified player in Panama.

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Marian Jacob

Marian Jacob is covering South East Asia. Marian worked in marketing and corporate communications for over a decade, covering both internal and external communications. She began her career in professional services, leading up to communications business partnering in various multi-national organizations with progressive cultures. Marian has worked on both global and regional roles within communications. She also provides counsel to companies on strategic communications and marketing opportunities. She was an editor on the Singapore Audit Committee Guidance Committee Handbook for companies.