Malaysia’s Frontier Digital Ventures raises $22.8m for emerging market investments

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Malaysia-headquartered investment firm Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV) has raised US$22.8 million through listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to scale up its operations in “frontier markets”, including Africa.

Frontier Digital Ventures, which has invested in 15 online classified businesses, raised the funds through oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO), and has commenced trading on the ASX.

The company invested in a number of African classifieds startups over the course of last year, including Mozambique’s Propertymaputo, Ghana’s MeQasa and Tanzania’s Kupatana, and claims all of its portfolio businesses are market leaders with an early-stage advantage in the space.

“Today marks an exciting and important milestone for Frontier, and we are thrilled to be making our public debut on the Australian Stock Exchange. The strong demand by institutions and professional investors is a strong vote of confidence in Frontier’s growth strategy,” said Frontier Digital Ventures founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Shaun Di Gregorio.

Di Gregorio told Disrupt Africa earlier this year classifieds had proven disruptive all over the world, stealing market share from more traditional media companies.

“We realised that this classifieds model was working pretty well everywhere and we could add value in other markets,” he said.

“We’ve seen that in the last seven or eight years in emerging markets, and in the last two or three years in what we call frontier markets. It’s a very easy business model to roll out, and it works a lot of the time.”

Africa in particular is a major opportunity in the classifieds space, Di Gregorio said, adding Frontier is always on the lookout for further investments.

“We’re very bullish about the opportunities there and have come across some very talented entrepreneurs that are doing very cool things. We’re looking forward to more opportunities,” he said.

“We set about trying to find good, smart, motivated entrepreneurs. We know that if we come in as partners we generally end up creating something pretty good. We’re looking right across the continent.”

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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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