A few years ago, classified websites were only viewed as handy tools to buy and sell items. But with their increasing popularity, they have become lucrative investment options for investors seeking real and long-term ROI. Major companies like Naspers and Schibsted have invested in classified websites lately. Let’s look at recent major investments made in classified websites and how companies aim to usenew funds.
OLX raised $5 million from Nexus Capital India in 2009. The company planned to use these funds to do more acquisitions, expand globally, improve the website and adopt aggressive marketing initiatives.
Kapaza, a Belgium-based classified website, was acquired by paying more than $20 million in 2008. The acquisition was done by Schibsted ASA, a Norwegian media group present in more than 29 nations. The acquisition was aimed at keeping Schibsted Classified Media among European classified market leaders.
Quikr recently raised $150million from Hong Kong-based alternative asset manager Steadview Capital. This investment was made in 2015 and will be used for boosting Quickrs’ mobile business. The funds will also be used for enhancing categories like real estate, jobs, cars, services and goods.
A local U.S.-based classified website, LetGoreceived an investment of $100 million in 2015 from South Africa’s Naspers Limited, the largest listed company in Africa. The investment will be utilized by LetGo to boost its instant chat feature that allows buyers and sellers to chat directly. It will also boost a geolocation-based search feature that connects buyers and sellers for free.
Investments are not limited to large classified websites only. Last year, Droom.an Indian classified website focused on the automobile industry, raised a sum of $16 million from various investors like Lightbox Ventures, an Indian investment firm, and Beenos, a Japanese Internet firm. The funds will be used to include 20 new automobile and 12 service categories, as well as to expand company presence in South Asian nations.
Another classified website operating in the automobile niche, Carmudireceived funding worth $10 million in 2014. The funds were used to boost the company’s presence in Asian nations that are not yet tapped among 10 emerging countries it covered till the investment was made.
Los Angeles-based classified ads search engine Adswish is doing what Expedia did for flights, Shopzilla for brand new product search, andIndeedfor jobs. It’s an all-in-one approach to niche classified ads. “Adswish promises to put an end to all such daunting stuff now, enabling one to search for classified ads from any country right from one single platform,” according to The BitBag.