ADA’s aim to transform advertising landscape propelled with RM 250 million investment from SoftBank Corp., says CEO

SoftBank Corp. will also be establishing ADA as its core digital & data marketing partner in Asia

Axiata Group Berhad’s subsidiary, ADA, just announced a USD60 million (RM 250 million) investment from SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank), a Fortune 500 telecommunications company headquartered in Japan. With the investment, SoftBank will own 23.07% shareholding of ADA, establishing ADA’s valuation at USD 260 million.

“We believe this alliance between SoftBank and ADA will reshape the digital marketing and data landscape in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Vice President and Head of the Enterprise Business Unit’s Global Business Division, SoftBank Corp., Daichi Nozaki. “This move is part of our Beyond Carrier growth strategy as we seek to expand beyond the traditional telecommunications business; and by combining our diversified solutions and technologies with ADA’s expertise in the area of analytics, data, and AI digital marketing, we expect we can both generate significant synergies.”

Established in 2018, the data and artificial intelligence company that designs and executes integrated digital analytics and marketing solutions has seen tremendous growth in serving over 1,300 clients across 9 markets in South and Southeast Asia. 

“We are very excited to welcome SoftBank Corp. as a valuable partner in our next phase of growth,” Chief Executive Officer of ADA, Srinivas Gattamneni said. “The capital and business alliance with SoftBank Corp. will further propel ADA’s analytics, data, and AI digital marketing solutions for the benefit of our customers across the region.”

Speaking to MARKETING Magazine, Srinivas said that the investment will also accelerate ADA’s plans to transform the advertising industry, especially with automation within creative production and media execution.

“Within creative production, what clients are looking for and what agencies are grappling with is feeding the beast that is social media, with more content because back in the day, this was usually done through quarterly content plans and monthly executions,” Srinivas told MARKETING Magazine. “But now, almost on a daily basis, brands sometimes need to produce anywhere between 10 to 20 creative content which is humanly impossible and requires automation; which is what ADA is focused on.”

SoftBank will also be establishing ADA as its core digital and data marketing arm in Asia and leverage ADA’s network of portfolio companies to create a colossal synergy globally.

Furthermore, this alliance allows SoftBank to expand their footprint in the region by bringing two key offerings: a customer data platform (CDP), ‘Treasure Data’, and the consumer base of its communication app, ‘LINE’ – both of which will further benefit ADA’s existing and future clients.

According to Srinivas, Treasure Data as a CDP is a valueable asset to ADA’s clients when it comes to audience activation and understanding customers better, whereas LINE includes an extensive range of new media offerings and e-commerce enablement.

Aside from that, SoftBank’s also runs Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund. As the fund also has investments in SEA, ADA plans to look at different ways to extract synergy value from this network, for the benefit of their clients, Srivinas told MARKETING Magazine.

SoftBank’s investment will further complement ADA in several ways. Aside from continuing the development of AI models with a primary focus on precision targeting, ADA will further invest in content analytics, automation of content creation and create data platforms to deliver consumer insights and predict consumer mindset to help its clients’ business decisioning.

”(Investments from SoftBank) also marks a significant milestone, especially with Southeast Asia’s digital market poised to potentially become one of the world’s top five digital economies,” said Chairman of ADA, Mohd Khairil Abdullah. “(It) is recognition of ADA as the vehicle to capture the ensuing growth.”

ADA’s differentiating factor lies in its proprietary technology IP in data processing, data ingestion, and consumer AI models; gleaned from 375 million consumer profiles on a monthly basis. Supporting this is ADA’s diverse talent pool of over 600 data scientists, digital media gurus, industry experts, and management consultants.

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