Egyptian ecommerce platform acquires two phone comparison portals

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Egypt-based ecommerce platform Yaoota acquired Mobihall and Mobilesgate, two of the largest phone comparison portals in the Arab world. The value of the deal remained undisclosed.

With this acquisition, Yaoota's combined traffic will reach around five million monthly visits (around 15 million monthly page views), making it a leading online product discovery service in the Middle East and Africa, according to Sherif ElRakabawy, cofounder and CEO of Yaoota.

Yaoota is currently operating in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Nigeria. Since its launch in 2014, traffic and revenue have been growing between four and 14 times year-on-year, said ElRakabawy.

“It was a natural move, as the prime question of Mobihall and Mobilesgate users, which host thousands of smartphone specifications and news, is about the price of the devices. Yaoota, on the other hand, has the algorithm that fetches all the corresponding prices automatically,” said ElRakabawy. “So we basically close the loop on the user experience by providing price and purchase options after the user explores specifications and news of smartphones he or she is interested in.”

He explained that they were monitoring both websites closely during last year, and took the acquisition step after a thorough analysis. It took about a month to acquire Mobilesgate, and about two to acquire Mobihall. Both companies’ management team will be supporting Yaoota as advisors, whereas the latter will be managing the portals.

ElRakabawy said that the ecommerce market is growing at a significant rate. “Several new stores get online every month, and more users are searching and buying online. Souq's acquisition by Amazon has sent positive shockwaves across the region,” he added.

Following the acquisition, the plan is to continue growing Yaoota’s product discovery platform to help shoppers make the right decision before buying, and equally important, to help online stores reach more customers, and sell more.

In 2015, Yaoota has landed a $2.7 million Series A round led by UAE private equity investor KBBO Group.

Ecommerce has been witnessing dynamic days in the region, with the past few months loaded with heavy-weight acquisitions, starting with Amazon and Souq.com’s merger last March and the deal finalized yesterday, and Emaar’s acquisition of Namshi and Jadopado. In addition, various online retailers have managed to attract VC and equity funding, including Saudi startup Dokkan Afkar closing a $2 million round led by Riyad Taqnia Fund (RTF, and Turkish Modacruz also raising a $2 million in a Series B investment round led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP).

Feature image via Sherif ElRakabawy.

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