DSA Summit: PropertyGuru open to more investment, IPO up in air

Hari Krishnan, Chatri Sityodtong and Joji Thomas Philip on stage at the Asia PE-VC Summit 2017.

Hari Krishnan of the PropertyGuru Group says that the company is not looking to raise further rounds but is open to further investments and the possibility of a corporate venture fund.

Speaking at the Asia PE-VC Summit 2017, Krishnan said, “We’re not looking and we don’t need it for the operations of the business. But because we do a lot of M&A, if we see an opportunity, then we can look at a funding conversation.”

What about speculation around a possible public listing? Krishnan said: “I think an IPO is one of the options but there’s no immediate plan to head for an IPO of any kind. We’re trying to build towards profitability either this year or early next year at the latest. I think getting to that stage, then consolidating and building more profitability into the business is critical to our future. By the end of next year, we want to be in a position to discuss the options on the table. It is not a foregone conclusion that we’ll conduct an IPO.”

With regards to an exit, he explains, “All the options are on the table. You can have an IPO, a trade sale or a potential PE buyout. I think there are two things to consider: What do our investors want out of the business and what are the financial outcomes they need? What is right for the business and continuing operations of the business?”

“In some cases, they intersect and right now they do. At least for the next 12-15 months, I can see that,” he adds.

While it maintains a dominant market position in Singapore and other markets around the region, the firm is also looking to grow inorganically. Asked if a corporate venture capital unit – as the Sea Group and Razer have launched – was a possibility for PropertyGuru, Krishnan noted that that company was working on innovation within the company.

He explains: “We do a lot of stuff at the the bleeding edge that may not see the light of day anytime soon. We started dabbling with AI and augmented reality last year. We shifted to machine learning earlier this year. But some of those other things may not come in.”

“There’s always this appetite of freeing up resources to innovate in new technology. Now, should we create a corporate venture fund? That’s one way to approach it. We are thinking of how to stay innovative in this space.”

But beyond property, as the company seeks to grow further, Krishnan makes it clear that the company intends to maintain its focus on property. He says, “The core of our value proposition is large enough. I think part of what I’m trying to do with PropertyGuru is to be super-focused. There are adjacencies that help.”

“For example, does access to financing help the consumers get their home more easily? We can definitely look at that and we’ve done this in the past. We can go further down that path. We also have an attractive commercial business that we continue to expand. Going completely off into different vertical is something I haven’t discussed.”

Also Read:

We’re very focused on ASEAN, especially Indonesia: Hari Krishnan, PropertyGuru

PropertyGuru’s Melhuish doesn’t believe in ‘unicorns’ even as portal nears $1b mark

Singapore: PropertyGuru to turn profitable this year after expansion spurt

SGX has to weigh between traditional blue chips and tech: Steve Melhuish, PropertyGuru

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.