We’re back with the highlights from the seventh episode of our weekly webinar series, The State of Real Estate with Bayut!
For the latest Bayut Webinar, we hosted our CEO, Haider Ali Khan and his brothers, Imran Ali Khan and Zeeshan Ali Khan, who are the masterminds behind the success of our parent company, Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG).
In this exciting episode, our three special guests delved into the incredible journey of EMPG! Bayut’s parent company was recently valued at an impressive $1 billion, making it one of the few companies in the region to reach unicorn status. The group has also announced a series of landmark acquisitions and mergers in recent months that have strengthened its position in MENA and South Asia and marked its entry in new markets.
Learn more about EMPG’s inspiring journey to becoming a $1 billion company and gain insights from our founders on the group’s recent acquisitions and mergers. Read up on the highlights from the webinar on 19 May 2020 or watch the complete session in the video below.
Who was part of the seventh Bayut Webinar?
The seventh Bayut Webinar was once again moderated by serial entrepreneur and author, Spencer Lodge.
Joining him were the founders and masterminds behind EMPG: the Khan brothers! Haider Ali Khan, CEO of EMPG – MENA and Bayut, Zeeshan Ali Khan, Co-founder of EMPG and CEO of Zameen, and Imran Ali Khan, Co-founder and CEO of EMPG, featured in the latest Bayut Webinar.
How EMPG began: Starting the $1 billion business
As the digital transformation picked up across all sectors in the early 2000s, brothers Zeeshan and Imran took their first steps in the digital classifieds business.
“The online world was so fascinating,” said Zeeshan Ali Khan, “Everything was being done online.”
With property being a major investment product in Pakistan and other geographies, the brothers saw an opportunity to employ technology to simplify the process for property seekers and increase transparency in the market. Thus, Zameen.com was started in 2006, with Bayut being launched soon after.
Although Bayut was started in 2008, our CEO Haider Ali Khan took over the leadership in 2014, moving from the US to the UAE. He mentioned that while Bayut was a smaller portal at the time, there was a clear opportunity to build a valuable business, which would help solve challenges that are unique to the UAE.
EMPG’s road to success
While EMPG now holds the coveted unicorn status, all the three founders are in agreement that most of the day-to-day work consists of solving challenges on the ground. “Every business that we do is solving a local problem,” said Zeeshan, “Our solutions are very localised and they keep evolving.”
For instance, Haider elaborated that while Dubai’s real estate market operates on a model that is similar to the West, emirates such as Sharjah and Ajman require an approach that’s seen in EMPG’s other markets.
All three brothers also agreed that there is no substitute for hard work, which is crucial to growing a business. Zeeshan also revealed that when they started the business, they would work for a stretch of 16 to 18 hours at a time!
In the Bayut Webinar, Zeeshan also emphasised that building a successful company requires a strong belief in the business itself, especially in the early days. He also stressed the importance of focussing on revenue, which in turn will drive growth for the company.
“While challenges will be numerous, it’s all about how you solve them. And that can be achieved only through having good people, a good product and the right strategy.”
In April 2020, EMPG announced that the group had raised $150M (AED 550M) in its latest investment round! But Imran Ali Khan, CEO of EMPG, revealed that when they initially started raising funds in 2014, things were more difficult. However, he elaborated, that their perseverance and determination in meeting these investors paid off, as it helped to get the word out about their business and later, connected them to other people who were keen on investing in the region!
EMPG’s merger with OLX Group
Our parent company also recently made headlines for its merger with the online classifieds business OLX Group, for its businesses in the MENA and South Asian markets. While EMPG’s merger with OLX Group was announced in April 2020, Imran revealed that the actual process took a much longer time, starting almost nine to 10 months earlier. Haider also emphasised that there are significant synergies between EMPG and OLX Group, as both businesses are focussed on solving the local challenges in their markets, which helped to smoothen the process.
As part of the new merger, EMPG will now also operate the horizontal classifieds, Dubizzle, in the UAE. As the Head of EMPG MENA, Haider highlighted the tremendous opportunity that Dubizzle has, as a household name in the UAE. He also revealed that their focus will be on working with the team at Dubizzle to build and improve the portal’s services, to make it more relevant to its audience.
Looking ahead: EMPG’s plans for the future
The Bayut Webinar concluded with the other founders voicing their plans for the EMPG group over the next year. Zeeshan reiterated EMPG’s commitment to building the business, solving local problems and delivering even better service in the coming year.
Meanwhile, Imran said that the next achievement for the EMPG group would be to add to its senior leadership, who can drive growth for the business even further.
That concludes the highlights from the seventh episode of the Bayut Webinar! As you can see, EMPG is poised to disrupt the digital classifieds industry in the wider Asian region and beyond.
Enjoyed the highlights of the latest Bayut Webinar? You can catch up on our previous webinar sessions in the Bayut After Hours section, which feature industry experts and CEOs from the UAE’s real estate community. Check out the highlights from the Bayut’s sixth webinar session, where our CEO unveiled our new Insights solution on Profolio™ for registered real estate agents!
You can also discover all about Bayut and its exciting journey in the UAE’s real estate market. Learn more about our innovative products and solutions that are simplifying property search in the UAE!