raises $20M from Swedish investors

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Dubai-based Propertyfinder Group has raised $20 million in capital from Sweden-based Vostok New Ventures, a transaction that Propertyfinder says values the company at $200 million.

Propertyfinder said it will continue to develop its technology, increase marketing efforts and bring in additional talent.

The investment gives Vostok a 10 percent share in Propertyfinder and expands Vostok’s presence in the Middle East. The VC has investments in four other companies in the region, including $1.7 million in Basharsoft, parent company of Egyptian job portal Wuzzuf.

The Propertyfinder team. (Image via Propertyfinder)

Propertyfinder Group was launched 10 years ago by Michael Lahyani. Brokers and developers pay a monthly fee to advertise on the platform. The company lists over 150,000 properties across seven countries, gets over one million visitors each month, and employs more than 150 people.

Lahyani said he was introduced to the folks at Vostok through common friends about a year ago, he told Wamda. Though he was not actively seeking funding, he was seeking investors “if the terms were right.”

Propertyfinder will use Vostok’s cash to further localize its platforms, by investing in technology and expanding its team.

“Real estate is very local. You need to adapt,” Lahyani said. “We have Propertyfinder across many markets. All of that requires investment.”

Lahyani noted that Lebanon is a developers market. It’s fragmented with lots of small developers. The more populous Egypt, on the other hand, has larger developers.

“The way you approach them is quite different,” he explained. “Each of those markets have the different types of segments, [whether they] are renting or buying.”

Despite regional instability, Lahyani is optimistic about Propertyfinder’s position.

“Egypt, during the revolution, was a bit challenging to run the operation,”  he said. “We are disrupting the way people search for real estate. As long as people search for apartments to rent, property to buy, there is a need for a search engine."

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