Huge growth sees UENI value soar to $100m

Christine Telyan of UENI.

Christine Telyan of UENI.

Enormous growth across four continents has helped London-based UENI win a further $12m from investors and propelled its value to $100m.

UENI, founded in 2015 by husband-and-wife team Christine Telyan and Anh Pham Vu, aims to ‘make all of the world’s businesses visible online’ by offering free websites and Google My Business listings for small businesses.

The firm had secured more than $18m from business angels in three earlier funding rounds, but secured its biggest injection of capital yet in the latest round.

Some 36 private investors contributed, with 95% of the money coming from the top 10 backers. Among the named investors were Michael Hartweg, co-founder of financial services and fintech company Leonteq Securities AG, and entrepreneur Thierry Manni, founder of Stajvelo, a high-end electric bicycle producer in Monaco.

Altogether, high net worth investors and entrepreneurs have now backed the enterprise to the tune of $30m, after being impressed by its rapid growth around the world.

CEO Christine Telyan said: “This is a massive endorsement from our angel investors. Our existing investors have been impressed by our growth and are backing us to do more.

“Our investors see the market potential and so this investment is a major validation of what we’ve done so far.”

UENI is now active in the UK, United States, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and India, and is currently signing up more than 3,000 businesses a day.

Since launching its ‘freemium’ model in August 2018, which makes revenue through paid services such as a custom domain name, professional email address and enhanced search engine optimisation, it has attracted more than 350,000 users.

Ms Telyan continued: “There’s a lot of demand for what we do. Growing markets such as India, Brazil and Mexico are fuelling our growth. The US is also a very exciting market with over 500 businesses joining every day.

“Our growth has been more like a consumer app rather than a service for businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We expect to have 600,000 users by the close of 2019 and two million by the end of 2020.”

The majority of UENI’s team of more than 60 people is based in London, but the firm also has offices in Prague in the Czech Republic and Dnipro and Kiev in Ukraine.

Its next step will be to grow its product offering to include ecommerce and curated third-party services that small businesses need to grow, such as business bank accounts, insurance, and payment processing.

Though the firm has not yet sought institutional investment, ambitious growth plans – and a stated target of getting ‘millions’ of small businesses online – mean that could follow, according to Ms Telyan.