Silvertree, Kevin Tucker buy back SA startup PriceCheck from Naspers

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Kevin Tucker, alongside Silvertree Internet Holdings, has reacquired South African startup PriceCheck, the leading African price comparison service he sold to Naspers in 2010.  

The deal, signed this week, sees Silvertree Internet Holdings and Tucker acquire PriceCheck for an undisclosed sum. Tucker originally started the company in 2006, before selling it to Naspers.

PriceCheck is now Africa’s largest price comparison service, with over five million products listed from retailers including Zando, Konga and Jumia. Having initially launched in South Africa, it expanded to Nigeria in 2013, and now sees 25 million unique annual visitors across its two platforms with year-on-year growth of 40 per cent in South Africa and 600 per cent in Nigeria.

“It is an exciting prospect to retake the reins of a company I started almost a decade ago. Naspers, through investment and strategic partnerships, has built PriceCheck to be a leading price and product comparison platform,” Tucker said.

“My challenge now is to consolidate the considerable headway they have made over the last five years and build an infrastructure to service the many millions more Africans that will be venturing online for consumer goods, predominantly via mobile, in the coming years”.

Tucker is partnering with Silvertree in this venture through its subsidiary Click n Compare, a one-stop portal for African consumers looking to source services and get valuable advice related to hard-to-navigate verticals, such as insurance, mobile, broadband, and banking. Originally launched in South Africa, the platform expanded into Nigeria and Kenya earlier this year.

“PriceCheck is a leading presence in the price comparison market and has an impressive growth trajectory for the coming years,” said Manuel Koser, managing director and co-founder of Silvertree.

“It is an exciting time for Africa’s e-commerce sector, as the continent’s rising consumer class continues to flock online in search of top deals and best prices. Adding PriceCheck to Click n Compare in our portfolio brings Africa’s most exciting product and financial services comparison platforms under one roof. PriceCheck is a key driver in modifying Africans’ shopping habits, which is why we have chosen to acquire the service, with Kevin Tucker, to complement our growing portfolio of e-commerce companies”.

It has been a busy year for Silvertree, which has already invested in Cape Town development agency We Are Monsters and organic e-commerce retailer Faithful to Nature. For Naspers, however, it is another divestment, having in March allowed online beauty subscription service Rubybox to return to independence following a management buyout. It did, however, in February invest in South African microjobbing platform M4JAM.

The company acquired PriceCheck in 2010 after the platform demonstrated consistent growth and market leadership, forging strong relationships with leading retailers and giving South African consumers access to transparent, competitive pricing on millions of products. It has contined to grow rapidly as part of the local Naspers e-commerce stable, which the company is in the process of trimming down.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Andre de Wet is stepping aside after five years of heading up PriceCheck.

“This has been a fantastic journey and I believe that the new CEO Kevin Tucker and Silvertree can build further on what we built at PriceCheck, and I honestly wish them all the best going forward,” he said.

Koser said Silvertree was extremely grateful to de Wet for his achievements at the company.

“Under his tenure, he has grown PriceCheck into one of the leading price comparison sites in Africa and we wish him all the very best for his next venture, he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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