Frontier Digital Ventures, a Malaysian venture capital, plans to invest $3.5 million – one of the largest revealed venture capital funding ever provided to any Pakistani tech project – in PakWheels.com.
“PakWheels.com has closed one of the largest, disclosed venture capital investment deals with a Malaysia-based venture capital fund focused on online classified business in the emerging and frontier markets,” according to latest Pakistan business news.
Over the last decade, PakWheels.com has assisted Pakistanis in buying and selling cars and motorbikes, reading reviews and news about auto motives, checking prices and finding solutions to their automotive glitches.
“Despite competition from other classified websites launched by giants like Naspers and Schibsted, PakWheels.com has managed to grow its market share in the country,” the announcement further stated.
Muhammad Raza Saeed, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of PakWheels.com, said: “Pakistan’s internet user base is expected to grow to 100 million 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.”
Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO and founder of Frontier Digital Ventures, commented: “PakWheels.com epitomises 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 Centre for Entrepreneurship and adviser to the deal: “Consumer internet services and Information Technology-enabled product businesses in Pakistan represent a great investment opportunity for savvy investors who can look past the negative perception about the country in the 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 trails a recent trend by international seed stage funds and angel investors into tech-focused Pakistani start-ups with high development potential.