Swedish Startup Space

Avito founders Iran bound after Russian success

Written by on September 14, 2015

Per Brilioth is behind the major Swedish investment being made now on the Iranian market. During his everyday duties he is the CEO of listed investment company Vostok, but this project is alongside his regular CEO-employment.

He collected around $8.2 million from external investors for the Swedish company Pomegranate, during the spring.  And another $16.2 million will be raised now, according to Breakit’s sources. 

The money has been invested in three different Iranian corporative groups so far:

# Sarava – Iran’s largest venture capital firm, who focus on the Internet sector. The golden egg in their portfolio is Digikala, the site described as Iran’s equivalent to Amazon.

# Sheypoor – A Blocket-copy, which is the largest one within its segment and has around 500.000 unique visitors per month.

# Griffon Capital – One of the largest investment banks in Iran.

Due to the tough economical sanctions imposed on Iran seeming to fall now, Pomegranate are in a very beneficial position. Even though many large international players are expected to take the step and enter the Iranian market once the sanctions are removed, Pomegranate and the other players already present have a big head start. The country has the largest internet penetration in the Middle East, where over 40 million have internet access and a 3G-net is being developed.

Among the investors behind Pomegranate are thus the two founders of Russian Blocket-copy Avito, Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert. Together they built Avito from scratch, to a turnover equivalent almost 1 billion Swedish Krona (or $122 million) and a profit margin of over 40 percent.

“We will not work operatively with this but we will be able to give some advice for sure, especially when n it comes to Sheypoor”, Jonas Nordlander says. He also states that the two together have invested about $400.000 in Pomegranate’s first financing round and have not decided whether they will enter with more money, now that the investment company issues new shares yet again.

According to Breakit’s source Pomegranate will be listed on the Stockholm stock exchange already next summer. Even more capital will probably be raised then.

Pomegranate is not the sole foreign player establishing themselves on the Iranian market in the last year. South African media giant Pasper, one of the joint owners of Avito, are present. And German venture capital firm Rocket, where the Stenbeck family’s investment company Kinnevik are one of the major owners, are very active with a large organization in place.

  • Alex Walker

    The online shop DigiKala is a misspelled as “Digitala”.

Subscribe to our mailing list