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The Warsaw Voice » Business » February 20, 2008
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New Investor for Fru.pl
February 20, 2008 By A.R.    
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Private equity fund Tar Heel Capital will pay zl.3.8 million to buy 35 percent of Fru.pl, a service that offers airline tickets and is preparing to launch online hotel reservations and car rental. This will be one of the largest venture capital investments on the Polish e-commerce market.

The funds Fru.pl will obtain from Tar Heel Capital will be used to develop the service and finance the company's expansion on foreign markets. Analyses commissioned by Fru.pl show that there is great potential for online air ticket bookings in Central Europe. Fru.pl wants to be the leader on this market, and Poland is a stage on the way to attaining this goal.

Last April the founders of Fru.pl, Michał Wrodarczyk and Jarosław Adamski, started up a similar service called Vola.ro in Romania. Over a short time the service won the leading position on that market, reporting sales growth of 50-100 percent per month. Similar services will soon be set up in the rapidly growing markets of Russia and Ukraine. "The funds from Tar Heel Capital will allow us to develop the technology for flight connection searches and to add new functions to the service," said Wrodarczyk, president of Fru.pl

"By investing in Fru.pl we are expressing our confidence in the extraordinary potential offered by the market for online flight and hotel reservations in this part of Europe," said Grzegorz Bielowicki, managing partner at Tar Heel Capital.

In the first three months of Fru.pl, the number of searches for flight connections on the Fru.pl website reached 141,000, much more than the founders had expected.

Tar Heel Capital focuses on venture capital investments, providing financial support to companies in order to enable them to restructure and develop. The ultimate objective is to find a strategic investor or float a given company on the stock exchange. In particular, the fund concentrates on companies with large potential for expansion as well as projects involving unique technology and know-how. To date Tar Heel Capital has invested more than zl.60 million in private equity deals in Poland.
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