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In 2007, Propertyfinder became the UAE’s first online real estate catalog. The interface allows visitors to browse for free over 80,000 residential and commercial properties, posted by over 500 real estate agents in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Egypt. Users can filter their searches for price, location, and size. Real estate agencies and developers profit from Propertyfinder’s one million monthly views, which generate over 120,000 leads for their businesses. More than an online catalog, Propertyfinder also publishes its real estate tips and quarterly industry reports, as well as ‘Prestige,’ its luxury real estate magazine.
Michael Lahyani is the founder and CEO of Property Finder Group. In 2005 he moved to Dubai from his native Switzerland after completing a Bachelor and MBA in Finance from HEC Lausanne. He identified a gap in the property advertising space and launched the first real estate classified in the Middle East, in print and online. In 2007 Australia’s REA Group; a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp; acquired 51% of the company. Michael remains CEO and a minority shareholder during this time; until in 2009 when he bought back REA’s stake and regained 100% control of the business during the Global Financial Crisis. In 2015, Property Finder secured USD20 million funding from a renown Swedish tech investor valuing the group at USD200 million. Prior to founding the company, Michael began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in his hometown of Geneva. As well as running Property Finder Group, Michael also invests in startup technology companies in direct or through Merro, an investment vehicle he co-founded with two partners (www.merro.co). Property Finder was named Arabian Business Start-Up ‘SME of the Year’ in 2013, SME ‘Online Business of the Year’ in 2013, winner of the Frost & Sullivan Middle East Customer Value in 2015 and winner/placing in ‘Dubai SME 100’ awards two years in a row both in 2013 and 2014. Michael himself is a regular speaker at the Harvard Business Conference and the first Endeavor Entrepreneur of the UAE Chapter, a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurship. Michael was also awarded Middle East CEO of the year in 2016 by CEO Magazine.
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