Enterprise SEO tool GinzaMetrics buys Asia’s influencer marketing platform Withfluence


See the original story in Japanese.

San Francisco-based Ginzamarkets, the company behind the GinzaMetrics enterprise SEO (search engine optimization) platform, announced today that it will fully acquire Withfluence, the Tokyo- and Bangkok-based startup offering an influencer marketing management platform under the same name. Both parties will work together to offer web marketing solutions more comprehensively for enterprise users.

Withfluence was founded in May of 2016 by Hiroyuki Okamoto (CEO), who was previously running media and ad companies in Vietnam, along with Keiichi Honma (CTO) having developed web services and a translation app for foreign visitors to Japan. Before Withfluence, Okamoto and Honma developed a Thailand-based instant e-commerce platform described as an “Asian version” of Shopify, but after attending the 12th batch of Open Network Lab’s Accelerator Program shifted their attention to the launch of Withfluence. The company participated in several pitch events in Bangkok supported by the Japanese Embassy to Thailand as well as JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), followed by securing partnership with Thailand’s second-largest telco True back in April this year.

Meanwhile, Ginzamarkets, the company behind the GinzaMetrics platform, was founded in May of 2010 by Ray Grieselhuber and other serial entrepreneurs. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has now become a global solution provider with offices in Columbus (Ohio, US) and Tokyo (Japan) as well as operations in Warsaw (Poland), Lahore (Pakistan) and Toronto (Canada).

L to R: Ginzamarkets CEO Ray Grieselhuber, Withfluence CEO Hiro Okamoto

Grieselhuber and Okamoto first met each other ten years ago. Followed by working for the Japanese subsidiary of Mezi Media (subsequently acquired by Value Click Brands), Okamoto was involved in managing overseas operations at Japanese digital agency Irep (TSE:2132). Though the Japanese adtech industry was still in an early stage at that time, Okamoto had been promoting business partnerships with foreign adtech companies and digital agencies.

When Okamoto first met Grieselhuber, the latter was running a digtal agency called Firewatching Media. Grieselhuber subsequently launched Ginzamarkets and participated in the Y Combinator program. Despite being asked by Grieselhuber to join the Ginzamarkets team, Okamoto declined the request to carry out his original intention to launch his own startup. Okamoto told The Bridge that Grieselhuber is the former’s senior in the SaaS (software as a service) startup sector.

In terms of the business perspective, GinzaMetrics and Withfluence are complementing each other. GinzaMetrics had been finding a way to give their global brand clients a better access to influencer marketing opportunities while Withfluence had been exploring a good partner that can offer comprehensive online marketing solutions together.

With the acquisition at this time, Withfluence plans to launch a total roll-out of their managed influencer marketing service, strengthen system integration with the GinzaMetrics platform, as well as expanding into Japan, Hong Kong and Mainland China beyond their current coverage of the Southeast Asia market.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy