Singapore-headquartered digital property firm 99.co has raised $7.9 million (S$11 million) in its latest round of financing, led by existing investors Sequoia Capital and Eduardo Saverin. East Ventures and 500 Startups also participated in the round.
Prior to this round, 99.co had secured $2.16 million in equity funding according to data compiled by Crunchbase. This latest round brings total funding raised to $9.5 million.
“There is no question that real estate is one of the largest market that has remained antiquated and inefficient,” said Eduardo Saverin, investor in 99.co. “With no clear leader in Southeast Asia, this is an opportunity to build a unicorn-level company many times over.”
Since its last funding round in 2015, 99.co claims that it has remained the fastest growing real estate technology company in Southeast Asia, serving more than 2.5 million users in 2016 and growing more than 150 per cent year-on-year on all metrics, including traffic and leads generated.
99.co is led by its founders Darius Cheung, Conor McLaughlin, Yan Phun and Irvan Ariesdhana.
“With this funding, we will continue our expansion within our core markets and across the region,” said Cheung, who serves as CEO.
Given the competition from players like iProperty and PropertyGuru in the region with significant financial resources, when asked about how sustainable their position was, Cheung told DEALSTREETASIA in an email exchange: “Today’s world is more about the better product, better model. We found both sides of our marketplace (consumers and agents) to be very savvy and well informed. Financial resources are not really a competition advantage in our opinion, making something customers want is.”
Asked about 99.co’s exit options, such as the possibility of a public listing, Cheung told this portal: “We would like to stay private for as long as we can. there seem to be increasing liquidity in secondary markets so we believe we are able to stay private for a long while more while providing satisfactory exits to earlier investors.”
The company expanded to Indonesia in 2016 where it operates in Jakarta and Surabaya. In Indonesia, 99.co offers a listing marketplace, data science products, agents tools and have recently also unveiled a disruptive product for real estate developers in Jakarta earlier this year.
“We look forward to operate in 8 more cities by end of this year,” said Ariesdhana, who is the Country Manager of 99.co Indonesia.
During a press event, Cheung also disclosed that the firm was planning to raise a Series B round later in the year. When asked about the timeline and target fundraise, he told this portal: “We have not yet started, but as mentioned at our growth rate we are likely going to be back in the market again soon, we are looking at within this year.”
“I can’t comment on behalf of existing investors, but we are confident our traction will make this an easy decision. However, we will be in the market to explore with investors who can be strategically helpful,” he added.
Given their exposure to the residential property space, and the recent expansion of Carro into car loan financing in its latest funding round, Cheung also revealed that 99.co was working on a similar development for home loan financing.
He explained to DEALSTREETASIA: “We are still in the research phase regarding this, it seems it is a pain area where our users need can be better served. we are open to all options, whichever can offer the best fit for our customers, we are working with aggregators/brokers for a start.”