AdAsia Holdings has closed US$12 million in Series A funding from JAFCO Asia, which it will use to further its expansion in North and Southeast Asia, increase headcount and enhance its product-development process.
Co-founder and CEO Kosuku Sogo said the company will open offices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia this year. The company aims to increase its staff more than fourfold by the end of 2018, from about 90 now to 400.
As for product development, the investment will allow AdAsia to establish a development center in Vietnam and accelerate its integration of AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning into both existing products and future offerings.
“We want to gain a big market share in our bid to become the biggest advertising technology company in Asia, and this funding will only strengthen our push," Sogo said, adding that the company plans to cover the majority of Asia by the end of 2018. “AI and machine learning will provide an added layer on top of our current product lineup that includes the AdAsia Digital Platform and CastingAsia."
AI and machine learning will also be a "big part" of future innovations, he said.
Since its launch in April 2016 in Singapore, the company has opened in Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Taipei. It claims more than 300 clients globally.
Sogo pointed to local-market inventory with premium publishers as one of the company's strengths, as that's a commodity highly prized by multinationals looking to build their business in Asia.
Over the past year, the company said, it has added publishers including Sanook and Kapook in Thailand, YAN News in Vietnam, Kompas Gramedia Group and Kapanlagi Network in Indonesia, and Apple Daily in Taiwan.
“In the last few years of my stint in Southeast Asia, I have never come across a company like AdAsia Holdings," Yoshiyuki Shibusawa, president and CEO of JAFCO Asia, said in a release. "This company has a very high growth trajectory due to their unique model. Both founders also have proven track records in the industry, exemplified through the company’s progress in just one year of operation.”
AdAsia said the investment by JAFCO Asia is the largest disclosed Series A funding round for a Southeast Asian ad tech company and the largest Series A funding round for an Asian ad tech company, excluding Chinese-headquartered companies. It is also the largest single investment made by JAFCO Asia in a single investment round.
The AdAsia Digital Platform enables programmatic buying and reporting across display, video and native ads on both desktop and mobile through a single dashboard.