Popular property search Web site homeless.co.il has sold a 30 percent stake in the business to an unnamed international investor for $4.38 million.
"We got the offer without any planning. They approached us," site owner and founder Paz Dror told The Jerusalem Post. "We were looking for a strategic partner that has the resources so we can put our ideas and financial model onto their infrastructure."
The deal values Homeless at $14.6m.
Dror said he believes the deal will enable the business to grow ten-fold in profits and in the services it offers.
"Otherwise they would not have invested. They saw an opportunity," he said.
Dror launched the site in 2000 after experiencing his own difficulties in finding an apartment as a service to the Tel Aviv community. Today, the site covers the whole of Israel and has expanded its services to include employment opportunities, second hand clothing sales, business services advertisements, car sales postings and a separate section for bicycle sales.
Tel Aviv apartment searches now make up just 30% of the total postings.
Once a one man show, Homeless now has 12 employees, attracts over 100,000 visitors a day and has counted over 25 million hits since its launch. More importantly for the business, it has over 45,000 paid advertisements posted, 18,000 of which are for apartments. Its popularity has grown despite competition from non-profit Web sites that offer similar services.
"It works," Dror said. "People pay to advertise their property and they get results. Within minutes they are getting responses and they know they will find tenants."
The site has become one of the most profitable in Israel and is an attractive one, he said "because people know we have a strong brand with loyal surfers."
While he did not expound on all his plans for the site's future, Dror did say he plans to translate it into English and possibly other languages.
Asked how old he is, Israel's newest millionaire answered, "31, single, good looking."
Does that mean another dating site is in the works?
"We've had requests, maybe," he quipped.
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