AdAsia Holdings raises $12M from Jafco to expand ad and marketing platform into Japan, Korea

The core members of the AdAsia Holdings team

See the original story in Japanese.

AdAsia Holdings, offering video ad network and influencer marketing platform based in Southeast Asia, announced on Wednesday that it had raised $12 million from JAFCO Asia in its series A round.

AdAsia Holdings was founded in April 2016 by Kosuke Sogo and Otohiko Koizumi. Prior to the startup, Sogo was successively appointed to CEO of MicroAd’s local subsidiaries in Southeast Asian countries while Kozutsumi was involved in the overseas business development of Japanese ad network startup Nobot (which was purchased by Mediba, an affiliate of KDDI in 2011) and an experienced COO of the Vietnamese local subsidiary of MicroAd. This announcement means that the firm succeeded in large-scale funding within one year after its foundation.

AdAsia Holdings’ service menu (Click to enlarge)
Image credit: AdAsia Holdings

AdAsia Holdings has been providing various ad services based on Southeast Asia: AdAsia Digital Platform having programmatic buying (data-driven automated ad inventory buying) and report management function, AdAsia Ad Network binding up local media in Southeast Asia, CastAsia acting as a matching platform for advertisers and influencers, as well as an online media site named Moments undertaking video production or showcasing past products.

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Launched in Singapore and Bangkok, the firm currently has developed its business into seven cities in Southeast Asian countries, namely Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei and Phnom Penh, serving major online media or clients in each city. The number of total staffers is 80 and the half of these engaged in system development or creative work at the Bangkok subsidiary. In the future, the firm plans to shift the center of the system development to Vietnam where many highly skilled engineers live.

Sogo explains the reason for fundraising this time:

There was no urgent need for funding, since we achieved a primary surplus in the first year. But considering listing in the future, we have to procure capital from external sources sooner or later. Feeling ready to go upscale with the business, we decided to receive an injection of funds from JAFCO at this time.

AdAsia Holdings’ Bangkok office
Image credit: AdAsia Holdings

With this funding, the firm revealed that it is going to develop its business into East Asia from Southeast Asia. Concretely, the targeted region will probably encompass Japan and Korea. It was a blank area in the Southeast Asian market regarding the business field AdAsia Holdings deal with. As seeking the next market, Sogo noticed that the East Asian market is also undeveloped although appearing at first glance to have players gradually on the increase.

However, it is not difficult to imagine that AdAsia will compete with other video ad network pioneering in this field such as AppVador, Lodeo, Open8 or App-CM. Tokyo-based Withfluence, which recently announced a business tie-up with the leading Thai telecommunication company True, also can be called a competitor in terms of being an influencer marketing platform focusing on Asia. This tendency clearly shows the increase in market awareness and demand.

In the future, AdAsia Holdings plans to introduce a budget optimization or an auto-operation method utilizing AI (artificial intelligence) into entire platforms, and to maximize the ROI (return on investment) performance of planning for advertising publication or buying.

As Sogo mentioning the listing of its stock in the future, the team enhancement is progressing steadily. He implied that some of the big names or aces in the Japanese advertising industry have joined the team, but could not say who at this time due to various reasons. I will try interviewing again as occasion serves.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy