Acquisitions, financial services next stops for this profitable unicorn

PropertyGuru CEO Hari Krishnan at DEALSTREETASIA's Asia PE-VC Summit 2017 in Singapore.

Its latest $145-million financing from private equity major KKR has pushed property portal PropertyGuru right into unicorn territory. CEO Hari V Krishnan, however, says this is not the milestone he is proud of.

His bragging rights? The company, which is cash flow positive, is now completing a full year of profitable operations. It is the only unicorn in Southeast Asia to achieve the feat.

Why then did it need to raise more money?

“It’s always better to raise funds when you’re on the front foot – particularly in the tech sector in Southeast Asia. I’m not aware of any other company of our scale that is doing what we’re doing and is cash-flow positive,” said Krishnan.

It also gives the firm an external valuation that allows it to benchmark itself against peers.

“There’s no external valuation that we have received for the last 3.5 years and we have become significantly larger from both revenue and maturity perspectives… We wanted to raise money for inorganic growth and now we have the business maturity and scale to do it,” Krishnan added.

That valuation also comes in handy for the company to prepare for a public listing in the future. Krishnan contends that PropertyGuru is in no hurry to move towards an IPO.

“We’re definitely not looking at an IPO in the immediate future, not in the next six months. But beyond that, who knows? We do have an external valuation now that is much more representative of the value of the company,” he added.

So, what’s next for this profitable unicorn, that rarest of rare beasts? Expect more acquisitions and a likely expansion into real estate finance.

Edited excerpts of an interview:

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