Private Equity firm ALTUS Digital Capital (ADC) is adding its financial and human capital, as well as deep digital know-how, to partner with both native digital companies and offline companies in need of a digital expression -- fast becoming a catalyst in accelerating the process of digitalization in emerging markets. The company has recently made 3 significant investments in 2016 and is in varying stages of closing 3 more in 2017.
Founded in 2016 and anchored in cutting-edge expertise in emerging technologies, innovation-driven business modeling and best-in-class digital business local talent development, ADC is dedicated to overcoming the pain points of digitalization and addressing innovation from a home-grown perspective. Currently, the company works in the fintech, e-commerce and TMT sectors.
The company developed “Owner-Operator Private Equity” is the innovative anchor concept uniquely tailored to solving the unique Southeast Asia market issues in digitalization. ADC has built a diverse and growing team of 65 professionals with skill sets in high demand in the region -- digital marketing, software development, as well as business and financial analysis - that it actively applies to solving the problems encountered in the development and execution of digitalization investments.
It has built a cutting-edge digital activation platform -- a reusable and scalable data management architecture, a fully digital studio for media development, and a unique productization process that accelerates the go-to-market time and significantly lowers the cost of launching new digital products. These assets combined with its know-how and capital help improve investment theses and de-risk outcomes in the course of its investments, enabling better products and services to emerge that solve real local South East Asia market problems in a very localized South East Asian way.
ADC builds digital-driven business solutions which are not only scalable and innovative, but most importantly, socially relevant and redeeming. The company places a huge premium on efficient collaboration in its ecosystems and 3rd party partnership to reach end-state and create value with each partner's unique attributes, a very non-Western approach to Private Equity and value creation. ADC’s passion for creating value through effective digital footprints makes it a catalyst in Southeast Asia's economic growth and a reliable steward in developing local talents towards an ever-demanding digitalization brewing in the region.
Asurion, a global technology protection and support provider, announced its data privacy program is certified compliant with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system.
The company partnered with TRUSTe, the leading global data privacy management (DPM) company, to certify Asurion as being CBPR compliant following an extensive review of Asurion's privacy policies and practices.
The APEC CBPR system is a voluntary but enforceable program developed to establish consistent, meaningful privacy protections for personal information that flows across borders within the 21-member APEC countries.
The certification allows U.S.-based Asurion to better facilitate business across APEC countries, including Japan, through privacy-compliant Asia-Pacific customer and HR data transfers.
MediaMath, announced the launch of its Curated Market, a product that unites advertisers' need to gain access to their best customers and prospects at scale with the requirement that those audiences are reached in premium, high quality media.
The Curated Market leverages MediaMath's global audience platform and unparalleled cross-device footprint to bring programmatic marketing to the next stage of its evolution.
The offering has two core components, namely cross-device audience reach as well as high quality, brand safe, premium media, since the Curated Market employs a stringent set of brand safety standards and protocols. Combined, these industry leading standards provide MediaMath clients with outstanding media quality, greater audience reach against their most valuable audiences, and better performance.
MediaMath clients also have the ability to opt out of all user generated content -- often the source of brand safety issues -- paying only for secure, brand-safe inventory across all channels including display, social and video. And to help ensure MediaMath stands by the brand safety promise, clients using the Curated Market will not pay for media if it does not meet the agreed upon criteria at the publisher level. Specifically, if advertisers find their ads are run on previously determined unsafe inventory they will be credited with a refund for those impressions by MediaMath.
Essence, a global digital agency that is majority owned by WPP, announced the launch of its Global Analytics Hub in Delhi, India, where it will focus on campaign analytics for leading global clients. In addition, it will serve as R&D center for work in mobile analytics, machine learning, social data mining and customer analytics.
The newly opened unit will work closely with the agency's analytics team in driving innovation and overall operational excellence. Qianqian Wu, global director of the hub, has plans underway to make a number of key senior hires, and considerably expand the current team in India.
Qualtrics, a leader in experience management software, announced it has closed a USD $180 million funding round at a USD $2.5 billion valuation.
In addition, the company announced the appointment of Murray Demo, who is currently Chief Financial Officer at Atlassian, another Accel portfolio company, to its board of directors and as chair of its audit committee. He guided the company through its 2015 USD $4.4 billion initial public offering. Prior to that, he served as CFO for tech leaders Adobe Systems and Dolby Laboratories.
The announcements comes just weeks after Qualtrics launched its groundbreaking new product, the Qualtrics XM Platform, a first-of-its-kind product that will revolutionize the experience management (XM) industry that Qualtrics established.
Video of XM Platform launch
The XM Platform manages the four core experiences of business (customer, employee, product and brand experience) in one single platform and automatically analyzes these touchpoints, helping organizations uncover key business drivers, predict future customer needs, and retain employees and customers.
The USD $180 million round was led by Insight Venture Partners and Accel, with participation from Sequoia Capital. This funding round increases Qualtrics’ valuation 2.5 times over its previous valuation in late 2014. This investment also makes Qualtrics the single largest aggregate investment in the history of the Accel’s portfolio.
JobTech Pte Ltd, Singapore's leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, is pleased to announce the addition of Dewey Houck and Michael Recce to the company's global advisory board.
Houck and Recce bring years of global leadership in the fields of AI and Big Data to JobTech's intelligent job search and skills platform.
Dewey Houck recently retired as Chief Data Analytics Officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. His work there boosted the data analytics capabilities of Boeing's US$31 billion defense platforms and services business. In 2016, Houck was inducted into the Wash100, a prestigious Washington award to honor his work in Cyber and Data Analytics leadership in the United States. Previously, Houck was Vice President of Electronic and Information Solutions, a division of Boeing Network and Space Systems that focuses on intelligence, surveillance, cyber and electronic systems and services.
Michael Recce is Chief Data Scientist for GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund. He develops quantitative models that analyze large, unstructured data sets to identify macroeconomic themes and pick securities for potential investment. Prior to joining GIC, Recce served as the head of machine learning and engineering for Quantcast, an American technology company that specializes in data-driven solutions for the advertising technology (AdTech) industry.
The addition of Houck and Recce to the advisory board will drive JobTech's initiative to break new ground in supplying data-driven insights for human resource development. Currently, it is the world's first AI and Big Data analytics platform for accurate, real-time and unified view of job vacancies on a country level basis. It applies cutting-edge AI technology to provide data-driven insights and tools that would better match job seekers and employers. To date, it has delivered, critical insights into the specific skills desired by employers and relevant training opportunities for several government and private sector clients in Singapore. These include NTUC's e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) which uses JobTech as a job search resource for jobseekers and for career coaching.
The company's future plans include driving deeper insights into hiring practices, and expanding the application of AI technology to improve human resource and country level labor productivity.
Megaport Limited, a leader in global Software Defined Networking (SDN), announced the launch of Megaport Exchange, a marketplace hosted on the Megaport Portal, designed to connect its rich Ecosystem of providers to its global network of customers.
Through this platform, customers can search for services and engage with providers to meet their networking needs. Megaport Exchange is a direct response to the increased demand for control of connectivity within the Enterprise space. It was designed to meet these needs by creating a data center and service provider neutral, self-serve marketplace enabling enterprises to access business critical services on demand.
The company's global platform enables customers to rapidly connect their network to other services across the Megaport Network. Services can be directly controlled by customers via mobile devices, their computer, or Megaport's open API, and the company's extensive footprint in Australia, Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe, provides a neutral platform that spans many key data center providers across various markets.
The acquisition is intended to give Akamai customers greater visibility into the business impact of their website and application optimization strategies. The all-cash transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter.
Traditionally, online businesses have found it challenging to generate a holistic view of website and application performance. Application logic and complexity are moving to the front-end (e.g. browsers, and native mobile applications), limiting the effectiveness of traditional Application Performance Management solutions that are more focused on monitoring IT infrastructure performance as opposed to the real-world experience of actual end users. Increasing investment in, and dependence on, third-party services introduces even greater complexity. SOASTA addresses these challenges with a unified platform for measurement, testing and analysis that delivers performance insights across both technology and business contexts.
Through its acquisition of SOASTA, Akamai plans to add several new capabilities to its Web Performance Solutions portfolio. Akamai customers will have improved ability to accurately measure how real users experience their applications, and how that experience impacts their behavior. This will help customers prioritize and implement the most impactful performance optimization strategies to positively affect business outcomes. Through SOASTA solutions, Akamai customers will then be able to test optimizations at scale prior to deployment and validate the business impact of those optimizations once they are live in production. The result is a comprehensive set of cloud-based performance and business outcome optimization solutions.
Global public relations firm Finn Partners announced the acquisition of Singapore-based Ying Communications, a leading B2B PR and Marketing firm with a special focus on the tech sector. Finn Partners acquired Ying Communications – together with its sister agency True Worth Consultants – through the 100% purchase of Ying Pte Ltd, the holding company which owns both agencies. Moving forward, the two agencies will be known as Ying Communications, A Finn Partners Company, and True Worth Consultants, A Finn Partners Company.
The two founders, Allan Tan and Yin Ching Yeap, will serve as Managing Partners and report to Howard Solomon, one of the Finn Partners Founding Managing Partners. Solomon also leads the firm’s West Coast operations, which has offices in San Francisco, LA and Portland.
Ying Communications was started 16 years ago by Tan and Yeap, who used to work in IBM, Shell and Singapore Airlines. Today, the agency is one of the most respected independent B2B agencies in Singapore and Asia Pacific, with a full-time staff of 35 B2B experts. Its clients include industry giants and growing companies such as Airbus, Cisco Systems, Cognizant, Cloudera, HP Enterprise, HP Inc, MediaMath, Microsoft, Pure Storage, SES, S&P Global Platts, and Tableau.
AdAsia Holdings announced it has closed US$12 million in Series A funding from JAFCO Asia.
This is the largest disclosed Series A funding round for a Southeast Asian ad tech company and largest Series A funding round for an Asian ad tech company, excluding Chinese-headquartered companies. It is also the largest single investment made in a company by JAFCO Asia, in one investment round.
The Singapore-headquartered company began operations in April 2016, and currently has seven offices in six countries, with Shanghai soon to follow. The company has a global headcount of over 90 staff and more than 300 clients globally.
AdAsia Holdings’ flagship product, the AdAsia Digital Platform, provides solutions that enable programmatic buying and reporting across display, video and native ads on both desktop and mobile, through a single, transparent dashboard.
The company plans to use the funds to expand into new markets including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia in 2017, to grow headcount to 400 by the end of 2018, and to establish a product development center in Vietnam and speed up integration of both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into existing products and future innovations.
Over the past year, the company has been building up its video and display ad networks -including premium publishers like Sanook and Kapook in Thailand, YAN News in Vietnam, Kompas Gramedia Group and Kapanlagi Network in Indonesia, and Apple Daily in Taiwan.
AdAsia Holdings also has digital marketing consultants and in-house creative teams to support marketers and advertisers in their activities, providing end-to-end solutions across online advertising and influencer marketing.