Malaysia

Catcha plans to grow and extend reach

Mr Patrick Y-Kin Grove said a lot more investment should be poured into driving the digital economy in the region.
Mr Patrick Y-Kin Grove said a lot more investment should be poured into driving the digital economy in the region.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Through sheer grit and determination, Catcha Group has emerged from an Internet-based business that suffered greatly from the dot.com bubble burst in 2000 to becoming one of South-east Asia's leading Internet companies.

Since its inception in 1999 - when it was co-founded by Mr Patrick Y-Kin Grove, who is the group chief executive officer, and his friend Luke Elliott - the company has been involved in numerous businesses in digital media, online classifieds, and e-commerce in Asia.

The firm has gone on successfully to list iProperty Group, iCar Asia, Frontier Digital Ventures and Ensogo (delisted in 2016) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). It also listed digital media company Rev Asia on Bursa Malaysia.

"Catcha Group has taken five companies from start-up to IPO, I think that's a world record!" said Mr Grove.

"Our sale of iProperty to REA Group was also one of the largest Internet exits in Asean, which was a great testament to the value we created in the company."

Mr Grove also started iFlix, a subscription video on demand-based service, two years ago. It has amassed over four million subscribers and is operating in 18 countries all over Asia, South-east Asia and the Middle East. "I'm amazed by the phenomenal growth of iFlix, which is just two years old yet is already in 18 markets globally across three regions," he said.

With Asean celebrating its 50th anniversary, Mr Grove said a lot more investment should be poured into driving the digital economy in the region.

When asked what his plans were for Asean over the next five years, Mr Grove said he planned to build a business that reaches over a billion people across the globe.

"There are over 300 million people who have smartphones in the region, and with the highest smartphone penetration rate, that's a huge addressable market rapidly growing every year," he said.

Mr Grove added that Asean governments in the last two years have made massive commitments to grow the digital economy.

"It's a great start, but we need both the public and private sectors to drive this together," he said.

Catcha Group and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation have also collaborated to establish the Kuala Lumpur Internet City with the launch of the world's first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

The DFTZ is poised to be a regional hub for small and medium-sized enterprises, marketplaces and monobrands.

When asked what his plans were for Asean over the next five years, Mr Grove said he planned to build a business that reaches over a billion people across the globe.

"I want it to come from this part of the world (Asean). I want to show that there is amazing talent from this part of the world who are as smart, as talented, as innovative and who can execute ideas just as fast as Silicon Valley," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Catcha plans to grow and extend reach'. Print Edition | Subscribe