A new Dublin-based start-up USofIreland has been formed to tackle the lack of an export focus among Irish arts and crafts creators and in doing so could become a kind of Etsy for the Irish-American diaspora.
Dublin: 02.09.2014 10.21AM
Irishman Paul Kenny’s Cobone.com, the largest daily deals website in the Middle East, has been acquired by international investment firm Tiger Global Management.
The deal will see Irish entrepreneur Paul Kenny, founder and current CEO of Cobone.com, maintain his position along other members of Cobone’s leadership team, including Warrick Godfrey and Pieter Sleeboom, while leading Cobone.com to greater market share and regional expansion.
Cobone.com was founded in August 2010 by Kenny with backing from the Jabbar Internet Group, and quickly moved to become the Middle East’s leading group buying site, and one of few daily deal sites to possess the potential to compete on a global level in a highly competitive market. Cobone.com is the largest deal site in the Middle East region, and has grown its registered user base to more than 2m customers, who have thus far saved nearly US$100m through the more than 1.5m coupons sold.
Last year, Enterprise Ireland appointed Kenny as start-up ambassador for the Middle East.
“This deal represents a very exciting future for Cobone as it reaffirms its commitment to the Middle Eastern market and e-commerce industry,” said Kenny. “Tiger Global gives us the international clout and the financial resources to expand regionally and surpass already high customer expectations. Loyal Cobone users can look forward to many exciting developments and innovative offerings in the very near future.”
Kenny hails from the same family that launched Kenny’s Bookshop on the internet – the second bookstore in the world to have its own website – and put in his time as an online marketing administrator with the Galway firm.
He won last year's Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for his success with Cobone.com, which at that time had 1.5m customers, 600,000 followers on social media and had saved its customers more than US$50m on their online purchases.
“This deal represents the international recognition of a highly successful local business,” Samih Toukan, chairman of Jabbar Internet Group, explained.
“With Paul Kenny, we created a company that lead the way in regional group buying, and took on global players on our own turf. While this deal represents a successful exit for the Jabbar Group, we have little doubt in Cobone’s commitment to the region and in Paul’s determination to continue excelling and leading his brainchild to new successes.”
Dubai image via Shutterstock