Today at the Property Portal Watch Conference, Michael Lahyani and Renan Bourdeau from the Propertyfinder.ae Group talked about the rapid growth of their business in the Middle East and how they are managing that growth.
Propertyfinder.ae is a rapid growth company in the Middle East. Since acquiring 100% of the company back from the REA Group in 2009, the Propertyfinder.ae team has delivered 80%+ revenue growth each year and has recently closed a round of capital raising. There is an expectation that revenues will continue to double during 2013 and into 2014.
Propertyfinder.ae has now entered the monetisation stage of its growth. During this phase the business shifted its focus from gaining listings to monetising them. To achieve this, they have improved the quality of their team by bringing in a sales manager from the REA Group. The result has been a strong growth in revenues and a more ruthless approach to capturing value from the advertisers.
As they grow the number of their clients and therefore the size of their business, they are experiencing some issues. These include a highly complicated geography / naming system, significant XML feed issues, data quality, and technology issues.
A key lesson learned is that the sales and marketing teams shouldn't wait for technology and be comfortable with selling what they have today. By taking this approach, the team has been able to focus on growing the business at speed and now they are capturing strong results.
The next step is expanding internationally with operations in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. Most of these are organic growth with an acquisition in Lebanon. The objective is to operate in 9 - 10 countries in the next 12 months.