Michael Lahyani is the founder and CEO of propertyfinder Group. In 2004 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 News Corp; acquired 51% of the company. Michael remains the 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.
In 2011, the company starts it’s regional expansion as they secure a funding round from BECO Capital – one of the top VC in the region. After the international expansion propertyfinder Group now operate in 7 countries– Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE – achieving No.1 status in 5 out of these 7.
Propertyfinder now have over 200 employees in 7 office locations and in 2015 secured a 20 million investment from one of the largest tech rounds in the region, valuing the Group at $200 million at the end of 2015.
Prior to founding the company, Michael began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in his hometown of Geneva. As well as running propertyfinder Group, Michael also invests in startup technology companies through Merro, an investment vehicle he co-founded with two partners (www.merro.co)
Propertyfinder 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 Endeavour Entrepreneur of the UAE Chapter.