New Delhi: Restaurant search portal Zomato, which raised $60 million in November, has acquired Cibando, one of Italy’s largest restaurant search services, as it rapidly expands its presence beyond India.

Gurgaon-based Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd said it will invest $6 million in Italy over the next two years to grow the team and the business in the country.

The company did not disclose the value of the deal.

With the acquisition of Cibando, Zomato’s fifth buy this year, the company has a presence in 20 countries.

It acquired MenuMania in New Zealand, Lunchtime in Czech Republic, Obedovat in Slovakia and Gastronauci in Poland this year.

It further aims to widen its international presence by entering 15 more countries in 2015. The company has so far steered clear of the US, a market dominated by larger competitors such as Yelp Inc., GrubHub Inc. and OpenTable.

“Our acquisition strategy is to either acquire a market leader or to make sure that the acquisition will help us be a market leader in a very short span,"said Pankaj Chaddah, co-founder of Zomato.

Apart from Italy, Zomato competes with Yelp in markets such as the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Chile.

And 2015 could see its US entry too.

“We have been considering the US market for some time now and it could happen in the second half of 2015," said Chaddah.

Founded in 2008 by Chaddah and Deepinder Goyal, Zomato has received investor backing from Info Edge (India) Ltd, Vy Capital and Sequoia Capital. In total, the company has raised $113 million and is currently valued at $660 million. It currently employs over 900 people in around 100 cities across 20 countries.

The company currently gets about 35 million visits per month across its website and mobile applications. It gets more than half of its traffic from its mobile application.

Cibando, founded by Guk Kim in 2010, is an online and mobile restaurant search service based in Italy that offers about 7,000 professionally generated reviews and 150,000 photographs taken by food photographers. About 82,000 restaurants are listed on Cibando.

According to Zomato, the entire Cibando team will join Zomato and the integration will happen over the next few months, making Zomato available in all major cities in Italy.

“Cibando is one of the largest restaurant search services in Italy. Their existing traffic and user base will give us a great start as we launch Zomato in the country," said Zomato’s Goyal.

“Zomato has been expanding at a rapid pace, and we’re excited about being part of that journey. Together, we will be able to offer detailed information for even more restaurants to our users in Italy and beyond, while also helping restaurant businesses connect and engage with customers effectively," said Kim, founder and chief executive officer of Cibando.

“Zomato is an aggressive company which is growing more inorganically than organically, and the company is quite active in adapting itself to changes in the environment. It recently introduced advertisements within its app, adding a new revenue model," said Sandeep Ladda, leader, technology, at PricewaterhouseCoopers India.

Zomato’s larger vision is to be the one-stop shop for everything from restaurant discovery to restaurant payments, said Chaddah. The company will soon be introducing a payment option in the app in some markets, including Dubai.

It will take some time for this to happen in India, “given the strict regulatory environment when it comes to online payments", Chaddah added.

Zomato provides detailed restaurant information such as menus, contact details, pictures, geo-coded maps and user reviews on over 310,000 restaurants.

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