AdAsia makes first acquisition

The ad tech startup acquires Japanese publisher trading desk company FourM 18 months after starting operation.

Kosuke Sogo
Kosuke Sogo

Hot on the heels after closing US$14.5 million for its Series A funding, AdAsia Holdings made its first acquisition of FourM, a Japanese publisher trading desk company. The new asset will be integrated into the company's existing publisher unit, while FourM employees will join AdAsia's office in Tokyo. 

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AdAsia, said FourM aligns with the company's initial product strategy, which is to provide publishers with an integrated solution through a single dashboard.

"FourM's publisher solutions will allow us to better match advertisers to publishers across the region, meaning our clients now have greater choice and reach for their marketing activities," said Sogo. "We can now also enable publishers to maximise yield from their online properties through display, native and video advertising." He added that FourM's heavy investment in staff was another factor, something that he personally believes in when running AdAsia.

"Through our meetings before this, we have determined that FourM's staff share similar characteristics with AdAsia's values...grit, positivity, teamwork, speed, result-orientedness and fairness," said Sogo.

Founded in 2009, FourM is stated as a Google-certified publisher partner that has secured over a hundred premium publishers in Japan. In contrast, the Singapore-based AdAsia is a relatively new player in the ad tech space, having been set up in April last year, but has since expanded to nine countries and generated US$12.9 million in revenue last year.

The company now has offerings in display, video and native advertising, as well as an AI-powered influencer marketing platform CastingAsia.

Sogo said while the digital marketing space in his native Japan is already mature, AdAsia can help Japanese businesses expand across the region. He disagreed that AdAsia is diverging from its advertising offerings, based on its venture into influencer marketing, for example. Rather, he said what the company does is to help marketers and advertisers  "innovate" in the ways to reach their audiences.

"We are consumers ourselves and don't want disruptive marketing and advertising. This means looking into influencer marketing, more native advertising and other marketing activities that can be driven by AI in the future," said Sogo. "At the same time, to lessen disruptive marketing and advertising, we need to help publishers monetise their online properties with more native advertising assets."

He firmly believed AI would drive the future of industries, and spoke about the company's vision to bring its AI solutions to other industries such as human resources. "We want to take what we've learned from the advertising and marketing industry on the technological side, and expand this to different types of business," said Sogo. 

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