CMIA Capital Partners and Affin Hwang Asset Management (AHAM) have acquired a controlling stake in Singapore-based Bitsmedia, the parent company of Muslim prayer app Muslim Pro. The buyers are based in Singapore and Malaysia, respectively.
Bitsmedia CEO Erwan Macé told Tech in Asia that the firms decided not to disclose the value of the transaction. “We can only communicate that it is an eight-digit figure in US dollars, for an 85 to 95 percent stake.”
Macé remains as CEO and will lead the development of Muslim Pro going forward.
The app provides Muslims with accurate prayer times regardless of where they are in the world and other features that help practice the Islamic faith.
After the acquisition, Muslim Pro plans to expand into new verticals, exploring collaborations with Halal food vendors, Haj services, religious authorities, and ecommerce partners.
The app grew to substantial popularity over the past few years.
At the time of the acquisition, it had been downloaded a total of 45 million times, up from 850,000 downloads when Tech in Asia first covered its progress in 2012.
Muslim Pro claims to have more than 10 million monthly active users on average now, and 2 million daily active users. It’s available for iOS and Android.
In countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, it ranks among the top 10 highest grossing lifestyle apps, beating others that address Muslims, according to data from app analytics firm App Annie.
It’s among the top 10 lifestyle apps in 13 countries globally, including France, Tunisia, and Qatar. While other prayer apps exist in different markets – Al Moazin, for example, is popular in Saudi Arabia – Muslim Pro stands out with its broad global footprint.
It positions itself as neutral to different Islamic teachings and offers content in 15 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Malay, and Urdu.
“Bitsmedia is a highly profitable business, with current earnings primarily derived from digital advertising and paid upgrades,” CMIA managing partner Lee Chong Min stated in the release.
Bitsmedia originally developed a range of apps, but decided to focus on Muslim Pro as it was gaining significant traction, Macé told Tech in Asia in an interview a few months ago. At the time, the app introduced a slate of new features, including a social networking aspect.
There’s an estimated 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, and it’s the fastest-growing religion. Islamic food, fashion, travel, entertainment, and finance are expected to constitute a US$5 trillion opportunity by 2020 (pdf).