PakWheels.com has closed one of the largest, disclosed, venture capital investment deals into a Pakistan technology venture. Frontier Digital Ventures, a Malaysia based venture capital fund focused on online classifieds businesses in the emerging and frontier markets, will invest US$3.5 Million into PakWheels.com
Over the last 10 years, PakWheels.com has helped millions of Pakistanis buy & sell cars and bikes, read automotive reviews and news, check automotive prices and find solutions to their automotive needs.
Despite the introduction of competing classifieds websites by giants like Naspers, Schibsted and other international internet firms, PakWheels.com has managed to grow its market share owing largely to the cult-like following of its brand, a very loyal user base, great execution by the management team and marketing programs that are inclusive of the brick and mortar car dealerships in the country.
Muhammad Raza Saeed, Co-Founder and CEO of PakWheels.com, said while commenting on the deal, “Pakistan’s internet user base is expected to grow to 100 million users by 2019 and we want to be the go-to place for anything and everything to do with wheels for this online population. This round of funding will help us strengthen our leadership position, improve existing services and build new offerings. Think Wheels, Think PakWheels.”
CEO and Founder of Frontier Digital Ventures, Shaun Di Gregorio, remarked, “PakWheels.com epitomizes the kind of business that Frontier Digital Ventures is seeking to invest in. We love frontier and emerging markets and have a wealth of expertise and a proven track record of extracting value in the opportunities these markets present, so we are really looking forward to working with the team to take the portal to its full potential.”
According to Khurram Zafar, Executive Director of LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and advisor to the deal, “Consumer internet services and IT-enabled product businesses in Pakistan represent a great investment opportunity for savvy investors who can look past the negative perception about the country in international media. This deal is a testament to the increasing confidence of early stage venture investors in Pakistani talent.”
The investment by Frontier Digital Ventures follows a recent trend of investments by international seed stage funds and angel investors into tech focused Pakistani start-ups with high growth potential. Frontier Digital’s earlier investment in the leading property portal of Pakistan Zameen.com, and Kima Venture’s funding of Shopistan and computer vision products company Eyedeus Labs are recent examples.