India – Dentsu has announced a significant global expansion of its pioneering innovation hub, Dentsu Lab. Alongside this announcement, Dentsu has promoted Sven Huberts to the dual role of president of global innovation and experience and president of Dentsu Lab, while Naoki Tanaka will lead Dentsu Lab Tokyo as chief creative officer

Dentsu’s first global labs will be opening in London, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, with further international labs planned for 2025. The new international network will work towards a shared mission to innovate human experiences that move people’s hearts, impact business, and improve society. 

Each lab will be overseen by dedicated local leadership, to be announced in the coming months, supported by a team of specialists focused on bringing a wide range of services to market. These services will include creative R&D that integrates contexts and technologies such as events, sports, gaming, installations, retail, new products, proposition design, new realities (AR, VR, MR), data visualisation, AI, mobile, IoT, and rapid prototyping.

The labs will be fully integrated with each other and dentsu’s offices to expand on the network’s innovation offer.

Together with this expansion, Dentsu has also appointed Huberts and Tanaka to lead the global rollout of the pioneering Dentsu Lab in Tokyo. 

In his new dual role as president of global innovation and experience and president of Dentsu Lab, Huberts is responsible not only for spearheading the global expansion of Dentsu Lab but also for scaling the mission across the network to deliver client growth via Dentsu’s combined experience and innovation capabilities.

Meanwhile, as the new chief creative officer of Dentsu Lab Tokyo, Tanaka will leverage his academic background in science and technology and years of professional experience to continuously push the boundaries of creative technology for clients.

This global initiative builds on the success of Dentsu Lab Tokyo, founded in 2014 by global chief creative officer Yasuharu Sasaki. Over the past decade, the Lab has delivered renowned projects like “All Players Welcome,” which empowers creativity for individuals with disabilities, enhanced international event ceremonies, and used algorithms and data visualisation to improve sports experiences. 

Jean Lin, global president of global practices at dentsu, said, “The launch of Dentsu Lab continues a proud 120-year tradition of innovation sitting at the core of dentsu’s offering. We know from Dentsu Lab Tokyo how powerful the outcome for society and business can be when you bring the best creative technologists together to imagine and invent. To be making this possible on a global stage is an exciting moment for dentsu, clients, and society.”

Commenting on his appointment, Huberts shared, “We are at an inflexion point of human creativity and technical sophistication where the opportunity for genuine innovation has never been so compelling. I couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Naoki and our Lab leaders to empower our growing global team of creators, partners, and institutions with the most powerful technology and tools in the world to create experiences that truly touch hearts, impact business, and, most importantly, move society forward.”

Tanaka further added, “Since launching ten years ago, Dentsu Lab Tokyo has revolutionised the intersection of technology and creativity, solving societal challenges and creating visionary expressions that touch hearts and minds. Our talented international team of dreamers and innovators, equipped with cutting-edge technology, is poised to take this impact worldwide and accelerate our clients’ growth while making a profound impact on society. We take the outlier’s perspective to open up new possibilities and find new answers through play. The future isn’t just on the horizon; with Dentsu Lab’s global vision, it is here and now, ready to transform the world.”

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand-based digital assets management platform, Bitazza, has announced its expansion into the global market with the Bitazza Global platform. Following this move, the platform also announced its roadmap for its utility token, BTZ, which will open for trading on 22 February 2022.

Bitazza offers a robust suite of real-world crypto usage features that are currently being used, including API payment integration, in-app crypto payments, and a white-label wallet solution.

The Bitazza Global platform will be offering users access to its ever-growing ecosystem and features, including spot trading, derivatives trading, yield products, and DeFi investment opportunities, as well as Freedom Wallet, and Freedom Card.

Meanwhile, BTZ will be serving as fuel for the ecosystem and is designed with utility features that may expand as the ecosystem grows, including paying fees with up to 75% discounts, redeeming BTZ for rewards, stake to earn APY, and accessing tiered benefits, as well as participating in the governance of the ecosystem. Moreover, BTZ has a max supply of three billion tokens, of which only 412.5 million are currently in circulation.

Bitazza said that it also has plans to establish a crypto-based e-commerce platform and will soon offer users crypto payment cards to further drive crypto usage in everyday life.

Kevin Heng, Bitazza’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, believes that with their interconnected global platform and the carefully curated tokenomics of their BTZ token, they have a clear roadmap towards the sustained growth of their platform.

“Our focus is on promoting financial inclusion and subsequently financial freedom. Bitazza believes in the freedom to manage and use one’s own assets in everyday life. We are passionate about putting real-world working crypto products in people’s hands and driving crypto mass adoption like no one else,” said Heng.

Singapore – Customer engagement platform MoEngage has announced that it has successfully raised US$32.5m in funding, which will be vital for the company’s acceleration of their global growth strategy, particularly for the greater benefit of their proprietary platform.

Said funding was led by Multiples Alternate Asset Management, with participation from current investors Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital and Matrix Partners.

In addition to their visions of global growth, MoEngage aims as well to use the funding to further strengthen the product’s AI and predictive capabilities.

For Raviteja Dodda, co-founder and CEO of MoEngage, their recent funding speaks to the continuous growth of the company, noting that they have seen rapid global adoption of insights-led customer engagement. 

He also added that their customer base and recurring revenue has doubled in the last 12 months and our business growth in the U.S. and Europe has tripled in the first half of 2021 as compared to the second half of 2020, hence this funding will help their company to further accelerate global growth and product innovation.

“Our rapid growth can be attributed to investments in the areas of product innovation and customer success. Over the last two years we have made significant investments in Sherpa, our AI engine, to add a layer of intelligence. Today, our AI engine delivers actionable insights to determine users who have a propensity to churn, the best performing customer journey path, most preferred channel, ideal frequency, and the right time to communicate. We will continue our investments to extend our lead in this space,” Dodda said.

He added, “As the digital space becomes competitive, we envision brands shifting from a rule-based tool to an intelligent platform that empowers marketers and product owners with AI-driven insights and optimization.”

As part of this funding round, MoEngage also completed an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) buyback of US$1.5m for its current and former employees to acknowledge their belief in the vision and contribution over the years. This is the first ESOP buyback by the company or its investors.

Melbourne, Australia – Australian-based startup Lexer, which provides a customer data platform for brands and retailers, has raised AU$33.5M in Series B funding, bringing its total funding to AU$43M. The funds will be used to bulk up its team, accelerate product development, and expand globally.

The platform provides data, software, and services that deliver all the tools required to understand and engage with customers, aiming to help brands and retailers drive sales. Lexer collects and enriches fragmented data sources into a single customer view, Brands like Quicksilver, Zimmermann, Billabong, Optus, and The Iconic are some that are already using Lexer.

The company said that with its team expansion, the funding will go into adding 50 people to the team over the next 12 months. It revealed further that it is aiming to hire a person per week for the next year, doubling its headcount across Australia, the United States, and Southeast Asia. 

Dave Whittle, CEO of Lexer, commented that the platform exists to help brands orient their business around the customer with its software, using data to deliver human experiences.

“Brands are awash with data these days, but it’s siloed, and they have no way of sorting, managing, gleaning insights, and taking action from it. Using Lexer, a business can provide its customers the personalized experience they deserve. We call this genuine engagement,” Whittle said.

The round was headed by Blackbird Ventures and King River Capital, with Series A investor January Capital. 

Sydney, Australia – Global digital agency Jellyfish is ramping up its global presence by acquiring five companies, including one in Australia, Data Runs Deep.

The Australia-based Google marketing agency provides consultancy and training to clients. Data Runs Deep assists its clients with the structure and implementation of Google Analytics in their business – most importantly, giving companies the ability to produce outputs through large amounts of customer behavior data in order to make fast business decisions.

The newly-announced acquisitions speak to the rapid acceleration of businesses looking into integrating digital transformation strategies into their company. This is done in response to the global pandemic that has created a greater need for brands to partner with companies to help them navigate and meet the challenges of driving growth and sustainability.

Other of Jellyfish’s global acquisitions include tech agency Seelk, e-commerce content production Quill, creative technology company Splash, and technology services Webedia Brand Services.

“These acquisitions bring powerful enhancements to our portfolio of services by expanding our depth of expertise, geographical reach, and our offerings across several continents and regions,” says Chris Lee, COO at Jellyfish.

Jellyfish’s rapid expansion comes against a backdrop of consolidation and challenges in the traditional agency sector as the company’s capabilities lie in helping brands during their digital transformation journey.

“Our mission is to ensure that our clients have all the resources needed to fully embrace digital transformation and reach results that transcend every expectation. These acquisitions are key in driving prominence and growth in the marketplace and we believe nothing is impossible or beyond the reach of our clients,” said Rob Pierre, CEO of Jellyfish.