Malaysia’s Frontier Digital Ventures raises $67m

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KUALA LUMPUR — Digital Ventures, a Malaysian online classifieds operator, has completed the institutional component of a $67 million funding round coming from Adevinta, a Norwegian online classifieds company.

The cash will be used to acquire three companies.

The Australia-listed group has entered into agreements to acquire 100% stakes in Fincaraiz, a real estate marketplace in Colombia; Avito, a general classifieds portal in Morocco; and Tayara, a general classifieds portal in Tunisia, according to a statement released on Monday.

“Following the new acquisitions, FDV’s portfolio will consist of interests in 15 online marketplace businesses active in 20 markets across Latin America, Africa, and developing Asia,” the statement says.

FDV has a particular focus on property and automotive verticals and general classifieds websites.

“We were one of the first internet investors in some markets such as Pakistan and Myanmar,” CEO and co-founder Shaun Di Gregorio said. “These latest acquisitions see FDV evolve into a leading operator of emerging marketplaces.”

FDV was founded by Gregorio and Patrick Grove, who had partnered to build iProperty, Malaysia’s largest property listing site.

“We learned how to build iProperty in Malaysia and how big a property marketplace could be if you did certain things correctly,” Grove said. “We also realized that great entrepreneurs in emerging markets neither had access to capital and mentorship nor the case studies we had.”

iProperty was sold to REA Group, an Australia-based ad agency, for 751 million Australian dollars (US$538.8 million) in 2015, according to media reports. “After leaving iProperty, we designed FDV to provide both financing and mentorship,” Grove said.

In February, FDV had fully divested its 20% stake in Vietnam-based online real estate classifieds startup Propzy for cash considerations of $4.7 million.

In May 2018, FDV had raised A$11.2 million through an institutional entitlement offer to increase its ownership in existing Tier-1 companies to accelerate their development.

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