EghtesadOnline: Amsterdam-based business International Internet Investment Coöperatief (IIIC) is planning to invest €38 million in Iranian tech firm Hezar Dastan Holdings owner of Café Bazaar (major local Android app market) and Divar (online classified ads service).
“Through the investment, the Dutch business will acquire a 10% stake in the holding,” Bazaar’s co-founder and chairman of the board Hessam Armandehi was quoted as saying by ILNA.
“Our management structure will remain intact after the investment,” Armandehi said, “The money will be used to develop new services including a cloud service.”
It is believed that the company is in the process of charting new territory including offering fintech and e-wallet services and also launch a navigation software that works on smartphones and tablets with GPS support and provides turn-by-turn navigation information, Financial Tribune reported.
Setting the bar higher for his firm, Armandehi said, “We are planning to turn Café Bazaar into a unicorn startup.”
A unicorn is a startup company valued at over $1 billion. The term was coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, choosing the mythical animal to represent the statistical rarity of such successful ventures.
Founded in 2010, Café Bazaar is Iran’s largest Android app market. An estimated 36 million people have Bazaar’s app installed on their handsets. On a daily basis, 4.7 million apps are downloaded from the service and every month the business sells 7.9 million applications. Close to 130,000 softwares and 30,000 games are available on Bazaar.
Divar is Iran’s leading classified ads online service. Operating through a website under the address divar.ir along with Android and iOS applications you can find anything on the services from a secondhand hairdryer to apartments. Divar has 25 million active users in Iran and 60 million ads have been published on the service since it was launched in 2013.
In June 2016, the e-commerce company started offering services in Afghanistan. According to a survey conducted by the business 64% of people in the neighboring country have heard about its services. So far 4,000 ads have been published on Divar’s Afghanistan service, which operates under the address divar.af.
This is not the first time the Dutch organization is investing in Iranian online businesses. In Dec. 2017 IIIC invested $100 million in Iran’s leading online retailer Digikala and has a 21% share in the company. Digikala is said to be worth $500 million. In 2014 the firm’s value was estimated at around $150 million. Some 2,600 people work for the company and its website attracts 2 million visitors on a daily basis.