Phnom Penh – Australian-based Digital Classifieds Group (DCG), a rapidly growing online classifieds business with operations in Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, recently received a major equity investment of AUD $2.25 million from private equity firm Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM).
DCG CEO Mathew Care said the company’s major investments in its technology and core human resources had seen increased investor interest in recent funding rounds.
“We are presently reviewing a range of expansion opportunities, particularly in Southeast Asia, where we have seen a tremendous surge in internet penetration and rapid urbanisation. We believe that our experience, platforms and committed expatriate and local teams are capable of tackling almost any new opportunities – and this additional capital and partnership gives DCG the ability to do this,” Mr Care said.
“When we first commenced the business we undervalued the importance of our platform and bootstrapped every part of the business. With the benefit of hindsight, we have spent over 18 months developing a world class platform, based on proven Australian real estate portal technology, which is now delivering outstanding results.”
Mr Care said the initial approach from BRCM was unsolicited. “We have had a long association with Alex Odom, the Chief Investment Officer at Belt Road Capital Management, and we were flattered when he approached us about investing in our business,” he said.
Mr Odom said he believed DCG had a strong future in both the Cambodian market and internationally.
“I’m excited that BRCM will now be a part of this journey,’’ he said. “ Having seen the swift growth of DCG’s business in Cambodia, and a high level of professionalism across their local and international operations, I was more than confident to introduce the opportunity to the equity partners of Belt Road.’’
Mr Care said the additional funding was highly strategic, given BRCM’s unique focus on countries exposed to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, particularly Mekong-based countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.
“The One Belt One Road Initiative has started in the Pacific and extended into Southeast Asia and the greater globe – which follows the trajectory of DCG’s history thus far. Alex and the team at BRCM have deep experience in our current markets, plus excellent connections into mainland China. Such expertise is both rare and invaluable to DCG moving forward,” Mr Care said.
DCG Director and former CEO of Allhomes.com.au (owned by Domain Holdings Australia Limited, ASX:DHG) Tim White, commented: “DCG does not have immediate plans to IPO. We are currently focusing on growing the business, with an emphasis on leadership in our current markets and expansion to new markets.”
About Digital Classifieds Group (DCG):
DCG has grown rapidly since its 2014 launch to create the dominant real estate portals in Cambodia (www.realestate.com.kh), Papua New Guinea (www.hausples.com.pg), and Fiji (www.property.com.fj). The group also owns the leading general classifieds websites in Laos (www.yula.la), Papua New Guinea (www.marketmeri.com), and Fiji (www.market.com.fj).
DCG has taken leading positions in all of these markets through innovations such as sophisticated search technology, a localised approach to each market (languages spanning English, Khmer, French and Chinese), CRM and website solutions for real estate agents, and high-value real estate sales events.
The company’s business has grown remarkably in the last 12 months. Its Cambodian real estate portal facilitated over USD $30m in direct sales at two events in 2017. While in Papua New Guinea, the business hosted the country’s first-ever real estate show in November last year.
DCG believes having the right people is the single most critical factor for success in emerging markets. The business has created an environment in which any member of the team has a clear pathway toward equity participation via an employee share option plan. At board and shareholder level, DCG has a huge depth of online classifieds experience, including director Tim White who spearheaded the successful expansion of Allhomes.com.au from humble beginnings to its AUD $50 million acquisition by Fairfax Media.
For more information please visit DCG’s official site: http://digitalclassifiedsgroup.com
About Belt Road Capital Management:
Belt Road Capital Management is a private equity investment manager based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia which focuses on the Greater Mekong Sub-Region consisting of Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. The company partners with promising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support the achievement of strategic goals, facilitate sustainable growth and expand access to new markets.
BRCM has launched its initial round of fundraising with value up to USD $50 million and has begun deployment and plans to launch subsequent investment funds in the near future.
For more information please visit BCRM’s official site: http://www.beltroadcap.com
2. Alex Odom, BRCM Chief Investment Officer, Alex@beltroadcap.com