Internet Investment Fund 'HOWZAT media' makes investment in property search site zoomf.com

05-Feb-2007

HOWZAT media LLP, the US$10 million investment vehicle for start-up and early stage dotcom companies, has completed its second investment, namely in Zoomf.com ("Zoomf") (www.zoomf.com) . Zoomf is an early stage Web 2.0 residential property sales and letting search engine. Its key differentiator is that it puts user friendliness first and aims to be comprehensive by offering agents free property listings. Still in its "beta" stage of development, Zoomf plans initially to cover agents offering property in the Greater London Area before rolling out nationally with more product enhancements.

Zoomf empowers online consumers to specify and search rapidly for relevant properties. For example:
     Knightsbridge: http://www.zoomf.com/london/knightsbridge/property/buy  
     Or, Brixton: http://www.zoomf.com/london/brixton/property/buy

Consumers can drill down quickly to their ideal property specifications, not only for location and price range, but also for 'deeper' specifications, such as 'with garage/ off-street parking' or 'river view'.

Zoomf also offers consumers local market intelligence and information on local amenities in their area of choice, via map and listings, e.g. local prices guides http://www.zoomf.com/london/abbey-road/guide/buy/ These provide users with useful additional information about local schools, transport, shopping and recreational facilities, assisting them in their property search.

Commenting on the investment, HOWZAT co-founder and Vice-Chairman of Cheapflights Ltd., Hugo Burge, said, "Search is an area we know well. Online property search is a significant and well publicised sector. We believe that next generation property search brings an exciting new dimension to the property market.”

He continued:
“We were attracted to investing in Zoomf not only because of their cutting edge product but also because of the wealth of experience in the founding team. The Zoomf team has a raft of experience in online media, pan-European roll-out, search engine technology and the management of growth organisations. We are confident that they will use the funds raised further to innovate and introduce new products to meet the needs of both consumers and the property sector."

Rod Dowler, Zoomf Chief Executive added, “HOWZAT is an ideal source of funding for us. Not only is HOWZAT focused on dotcoms such as ours, its management has had hands-on experience of developing and growing Cheapflights - one of the UK's most successful vertical search sites, both in the UK and in the USA. They are a perfect partner for us."

He added," Our goal is to create something that’s both agent and consumer-centric, providing a superb service in one of the most economically important sectors in the UK. At present, Zoomf is available only to London agents, but we intend to roll it out nationwide later this year. Zoomf will eventually provide the opportunity for free property listings to every estate agent office in the UK”.

David Soskin, the CEO of Cheapflights and co-founder of HOWZAT, concluded by adding: “We very much look forward to working with this 'dream team' and helping them move from beta start-up to successful international company. All the ingredients feel right; now begins the hard work to make it happen."

Notes To Editors

HOWZAT media LLP
Hugo Burge and David Soskin, respectively Vice-Chairman & Head of International, and CEO of Cheapflights Ltd ("Cheapflights") (www.cheapflights.co.uk) recently lead a small group of private investors in launching a specialist Internet investment fund, HOWZAT media LLP ("HOWZAT") (www.howzatmedia.com). Apart from their funding, investee companies will benefit from Hugo and David’s operational experience gained from building one of the UK's most successful, profitable and long-lived dotcom companies.

Launched with an initial US$10 million investment, the new fund has a clearly defined focus: To identify and invest in start-up and early-stage internet media companies which are reinventing the way in which consumers access and use online information. It will seek out global opportunities in Internet media, including, but not exclusively, in the travel sector. This investment profile reflects Cheapflights' own successful business model. Hugo and David will be using their unique experience growing Cheapflights to drive the success of HOWZAT and its underlying investments.

HOWZAT recently made its first investment alongside a syndicate of investors brought together in an $11m Series 'A' Funding, led by Esprit Capital Partners, in Where Are You Now? ("WAYN") (www.wayn.com), the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social network.

Zoomf.com
Zoomf is the creation of Arclight Media Media Technology http://www.arclightmediatech.com/about-us/ . Zoomf’s founding team are experts in very relevant fields. CEO Rod Dowler offers decades of technical leadership, having been a KPMG partner, leading the European High Technology Practice. Dr David Romano-Critchley is CTO and a one-man technology wizard, part of his experience was work with the innovative UK search engine, Espotting. Mike Carter is Business Development director and is a veteran of online advertising, having founded his own company and worked for a raft of companies including MIVA, Ask Jeeves and Touch local. Ivailo Jordanov, who is Product Director was Development Manager for Espotting Media and led the technology roll-out across eight European countries.

Cheapflights Ltd: (www.cheapflights.co.uk) Pioneering independent online travel price comparison since 1996, Cheapflights.co.uk has become the UK's leading international internet flight search company, with 6.0 million monthly global unique users. Profitable since 1996, it is the only British flight search comparison website that has also successfully launched in the USA, where it uses the Cheapflights.com domain.

Cheapflights introduced ‘pay-per-click’ to the UK in 2000 and its advertisers read like a Who’s Who of the travel industry: They include Thomas Cook, ebookers, British Airways and Opodo, as well as hundreds of specialists, such as Iglu.com and STA.

In the ten years since its inception, Cheapflights.co.uk has been voted among the leading travel websites by national broadsheets. It appeared in The Sunday Times Microsoft TechTrack 100 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK for the past three years. Amongst other awards, it won the prestigious 2006 'Best Trade Website' at the British Travel Awards.

Cheapflights.co.uk is the definitive air travel search and comparison website. In addition to its outstanding travel deals, it also provides up to the minute breaking news and a weekly newsletter with exclusive Cheapflights user offers:

UK News: http://news.cheapflights.co.uk ; US News: http://news.cheapflights.com