Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) has made two landmark investments in Myanmar’s leading online automobile and property websites, marking its foray into the premier frontier market.
FDV offers participating entrepreneurs a singularly unique proposition, providing not only necessary capital, but also invaluable expertise in developing, growing and operating online classifieds businesses.
Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO and co-founder, commented that the investments in Myanmar ideally positions FDV in the country as the market emerges.
Di Gregorio said FDV found the companies fairly quickly given the specific business areas it was looking at.
“We did our homework on the market and found these companies to be well-run by local entrepreneurs whom we are happy to back,” he told DEALlSTREETASIA over the phone.
The entrepreneurs’ background, having been out of the country to Singapore for university, further convinced Di Gregorio that they were worth it.
He recognised that businesses can capitalise on first mover advantages as consumers experience services and products for the first time and develop long term loyalties to, en masse.
“Myanmar is the last untouched market in Asia. We are actively working with the management teams of both companies to accelerate their growth and extend their market leadership,” he was quoted in a statement.
MyanmarCarsDB.com was established in January 2012, the first online automobile marketplace to connect car buyers and sellers in Myanmar.
It now has more than 40,000+ cars listed, registering the highest volume of consumer traffic to both its website and mobile application of any online automotive resource in the country.
MyanamarCarsDB.com has positioned itself as the go-to source for car classifieds, local car market news, local auto tax information and auto directory services throughout Myanmar.
iMyanamarHouse.com, launched in October 2013, has the country’s highest traffic, by consumers looking up real estate and property information and news. It has over 31,000 properties listed for sale or rent.
Currently, Myanmar has the largest untapped population in Southeast Asia.
Its government has intentions to achieve Internet penetration for at least half the population by 2016, and introduce mobile phone adoption to 80 per cent of its 60 million people.
To cite a few indications of digital adoption in Myanmar, Norwegian telecom firm Telenor registered two million users just two months after opening their first store in Rangoon in September 2014.
Qatar Telecom’s Ooredoo has also recorded millions of subscribers within months of launching in August 2014, according to FDV.
Ooredoo anticipates that Myanmar will be its second largest market outside of Indonesia.
The Kuala Lumpur-based FDV’s vision is to be a leading operator of online classifieds businesses in frontier and pre-emerging markets. The two investments in Myanmar echo its recent investments in the top property and automobile sites in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the firm has invested in property and automobile websites Zameen.com and PakWheels.com. FDV’s other earlier investments include Vivareal.com in Brazil and Propertyfinder.ae in the Middle East and North Africa.
With two more investments in its stable, FDV appeared on track to achieving its target portfolio of up to 30 investments, 15 of which are aimed to be sealed by mid-2015.