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‘Fuelling Cobone’s growth going forward’
March 10, 2013 6:06 by Muhammad Aldalou
Warrick Godfrey, co-founder of Cobone, tells Kipp that when you stop to compare the present day with just two years ago, the e-commerce industry and ecosystem for online start-ups in the Middle East has become much more hospitable.
Recently, Cobone.com, dubbed as the Middle East’s largest daily deal site, announced that it has been acquired by international investment firm Tiger Global Management and will now be injected with extra capital to expand into the market as it sees fit. This means that it will no longer operate under the umbrella of Dubai’s Jabbar Internet Group. Samih Toukan, the group’s chairman described the deal as a successful exit for them.
According to the company, it possesses the potential to compete on a global level and now has an enormous customer base of more than two million customers. So why, then, was a take-over more favourable than remaining in its current position? Kipp hears from Warrick Godfrey.
“In the past two-and-a-half years Cobone has grown to be one of the largest e-commerce companies in the Middle East. Throughout the process we were looking for a partner that was aligned to the management team’s overall vision,” continues Godfrey. “When Tiger approached us we were not looking for this deal, but when it came to the table it was clear that it was the best step to fuel Cobone’s growth going forward.”
Godfrey says this acquisition highlights a significant ‘vote of confidence’ for this region’s e-commerce scene – and is the first major investment for 2013, despite consistent interest from global investors over the past couple of years.
E-commerce growth in the Middle East is still going through exponential organic user growth due to increased internet (mobile and broadband) penetration. As more people jump online, and get more comfortable with e-commerce, a natural growth curve has been built into the market.
If you’re one of the site’s two million customers, or hope to be one in the near future, why should you care about this corporate transition?
“Customers can look forward to receiving much more personalised communications from Cobone, he says. “A large focus will be placed on high quality deals. Additionally, we have always made significant changes in our website layout over the past two and a half years. We will continue to invest in our website to improve our merchant and customer experience.”
Paul Kenny, founder and CEO of the company, will retain his current position, along with other members of its leadership team, including Warrick Godfrey, Pieter Sleeboom, Tahira Khan and Loai Ayoub.
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