OLX, a free classifieds site operating in 40 countries in 15 languages, including in Russian, raised $13.5 million, bringing total funding to $23.5 million, says OLX founder and CEO Fabrice Grinda on his blog Musings of an Entrepreneur. The investors in the round included General Catalyst Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Founders Fund, and DN Capital.
Fabrice also admitted that OLX acquired a Russian free classifieds site FreeAds.ru. The deal should have closed in the summer 2007 when the site started forwarding its visitors to OLX.ru
OLX faces major completion in Russia from Slando.ru (part of a free online classifieds network in Eastern Europe owned by eBay via Kijiji), Avito.ru, a free classifieds site owned by the yellow-pages business Kontakt East Holding, and IRR.ru, online version of classifieds newspaper Iz Ruk v Ruki (From Hand to Hand) owned by Trader Media East.
OLX.ru has 300 thousand monthly site visitors, Slando.ru – 700 thousand, Avito.ru – 1 million, and IRR.ru has 2.5 million visitors per month, according to Internet statistics service LiveInternet.ru.
Avito recently stroke a deal with Russia’s leading blogging business LiveJournal to advertise classifieds from Avito on LiveJournal.ru pages. By clicking Avito ads, the LiveJournal visitors go a special online auction page LiveJournal-Bazar.
While the largest free classifieds site Craigslist (partly owned by eBay) lacks presence in developing Internet markets as well as web 2.0 features, it leaves room for its emerging competitors such as OLX to win in those markets, including in Russia.