Singapore – SaaS omnichannel social commerce platform SleekFlow has completed a US$8m Series A funding round, led by New York-based investment firm Tiger Global Partners, with notable investors like Transcend Capital and AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, managed by Gobi Partners GBA – the GP of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AHKEF).
The newly secured funds will be channelled to facilitating SleekFlow’s strategic market penetration into SEA, specifically Singapore and Malaysia, and as part of its expansion plans into the UK, Europe, and other emerging markets.
Moreover, the funds will be used to scale the platform’s capabilities with fintech and data analytics functions, one-click checkouts via popular social media platforms, centralised product listings, and easy in-chat payment integrations to enhance seamless workflow for O2O and e-commerce brands.
Henson Tsai, founder and CEO of SleekFlow, shared that the social commerce market is expected to rise to US$3.37t by 2028, and SleekFlow aims to drive this e-commerce revolution by being the top social commerce unified hub – merging conversations, product catalogues, payment solutions, and order management into one for businesses.
“With investor trust from Tiger Global Partners, Transcend Capital, and AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, SleekFlow will enhance product developments to include detailed buyer journey tracking and analytics, which will provide invaluable actionable insights for enterprises to unlock their social commerce power as they embrace this unstoppable megatrend,” said Tsai.
Meanwhile, Chibo Tang, managing partner of Gobi Partners GBA, said, “Eight in 10 US businesses anticipate increased sales via social media within the next three years. SleekFlow’s innovative solutions will help these global commerce businesses meet the evolving needs of customers who are turning to social channels to purchase more than ever before.”
Just recently, SleekFlow has also launched its new one-click checkout function and social-to-payment ecosystem, which provides a comprehensive solution for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses to receive payments directly via social chats. The newly advanced chat-and-pay feature effectively connects businesses and consumers with a faster, easier, and more well-secured path to purchase, unlocking a new avenue for business profits and revenue.
For this month of August, we see a compelling lineup of top stories in MARKETECH APAC all coming from the area of technology and platforms. As usual, top stories from brands serve as proof of the changing consumer behavior in APAC amid the unprecedented wave of digitization.
For one, a Hong Kong startup is responding to the beat of social commerce in Asia where purchasing through social messaging is growing more mature. With a platform that simplifies customer communications for brands across social messaging apps, the SaaS company sees its presence expanding to Singapore and Malaysia.
Another one is mobile gaming in Indonesia. Indonesia is fast earning its name as the market with the strongest mobile engagement in the Asia region, and a report that entered the list presents insights that turn gaming patterns on their head.
Two global adtech platforms have also inducted leaders into new positions of COO, managing director, and into a role helming partner development in order to bolster their presence in APAC. Meanwhile, a recommendation platform for the open web has also unveiled its string of eight new hires for the ANZ, SEA, and APAC region.
Take a look at the top stories this August. Rankings were based on Google Analytics from the period of 16 July to 15 August.
SeekFlow, the Hong Kong-born SaaS start-up that provides an all-in-one social messaging platform for businesses, is expanding to Singapore and Malaysia. SleekFlow streamlines customer communications in social messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat through a single platform.
Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Henson Tsai, the founder and CEO of SleekFlow, shared that the company has always been eyeing to make Singapore its regional hub. Aside from Singapore being the headquarters of many brands and companies, the SleekFlow team also found that there are more people familiar with the SEA market in the country compared to those in Hong Kong, making it the “sensible move.”
Tsai also shared that Indonesia is a target market, where SleekFlow found that 80% of people buy on smartphones with only the remaining 20% buying on desktop.
“If you actually compare Asia with Europe or America, you realize for example, in China, that kind of behavior [which is] buying through social commerce is kind of very mature…clicking through products and paying through chat is a very mature behavior. If you look at Southeast Asia, people actually purchase more often on mobile,” said Tsai.
Eveyone has that kind of experience right where they buy something and want to talk to someone first. I think these kinds of feelings make you feel more privileged, you feel more [ advantageous] over your peers because you have someone to talk to.
Following its acquisition of video ad platform SpotX, global sell-side platform Magnite elevates its leadership to realize the combined capabilities of the two platforms.
New leaders include Gavin Buxton, who has been appointed managing director for Asia at Magnite Asia, and Yogesh Sehgal, who will assume the role of head of partner development at Magnite APAC.
Gavin Buxton, previously the managing director for Asia at SpotX, will be holding the same position for Magnite Asia, while Yogesh Sehgal, Magnite’s former regional manager for the region, has been promoted to the role of head of partner development.
Speaking to Juliette Stead, Magnite’s senior vice president and head of JAPAC, in an exclusive interview, she shared that through this fusion, Magnite will be able to solve the needs of publishers more holistically and ensure that they continue to deliver the services and the tech that everybody has already expected from both sides
Magnite and SpotX have been doing so incredibly well for such a long time, and we want to bring that together, and make sure that we’re not just 1 plus 1 equals 2. The way we see it, we’re better together, and to provide even more for the publishers and buyers in the market.
Juliette Stead, SVP and Head, JAPAC, Magnite
Stead also emphasizes the concept of scale that the newly combined capabilities bring about.
“All of these publishers across all of these platforms provide the buy-side with a scalable alternative to walled gardens, that’s also really brand-safe, and that has a targeting and addressable functionality.”
Global adtech Silverpush, known for its AI-powered contextual video technology, has targeted bolstering its global senior leadership by promoting its current chief revenue officer Kartik Mehta to the new role of chief operating officer.
Silverpush, which currently has presence in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand; targets to penetrate further into the contextual video advertising and moment marketing space.
Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Mehta shares that in his role, he will be driving the company’s vision that they have set for themselves, adding that they are also pushing their ‘3.0 Agenda’ or a strategy simply called as ‘Pi’, which stands for partnerships and investment which then leads to acquisitions.
“Essentially, all of what we do is going to revolve around these key things. You know, the digital media industry is growing, and we firmly believe that we need to be true to our vision on what we have set for ourselves, and to be considered as leaders among most-respected companies in the contextual advertising space,” he said.
Part of what Mehta also shared during the exclusive interview surrounds the question of ‘how could we invest in technologies?’, adding that they pose the aforementioned question in a bid to help companies in the region, such as in APAC, who have geographical advantage in their market.
Ever since we started in the adtech space and the privilege we had over the past nine years, we said that everything we’re doing doesn’t rely on any kind of personal identifiers. The technology, which is available today, are eventually what we have progressed hereon, is all very privacy-compliant.
Kartik Mehta, COO, Silverpush
He added, “In terms of APAC perspective, the region today contributes about 65% of the overall company revenue, which means APAC becomes very, very important market for Silverpush in terms of expansion, in terms of what we have to do in our strategy, and within APAC, certain key markets like Southeast Asia and India are going to play a pivotal role in terms of our entire growth strategy.”
In its efforts to bolster the company’s growth and presence in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market, global recommendation platform Outbrain has signed in eight new hires to serve the diverse needs of clients across said regional market.
Outbrain operates under the premise of generating revenue for online publishers by displaying feeds of content and ads, or boxes of links to pages within a website, that lead to third-party content.
The new hires are led by the new director of sales for SEA, Jovary Jose. He is accompanied then by Nathan Jackson, head of sales APAC at Outbrain; Chermaine Koh, senior account manager at Outbrain; Calista Teo, sales manager for SEA at Outbrain; Daniel Littlepage, director of business operations for APAC; Greg Wood, head of Engage ANZ; Krishan Lal, sales manager for ANZ; Alanna Green, senior account manager for Engage ANZ; and Ana Carolina Garcia, account manager for ANZ.
Speaking to MARKETECH APAC about the latest hires, Jovary states that the company has a strong business growth in the region, noting the latest hires significantly showing a 50% growth of the company’s presence in APAC, focusing more on sales and recommendation teams across the region to support the Outbrain team.
Personally, I’m happy to be involved in Outbrain and growing the APAC team. Coming from a publishing background, I’m thrilled to support quality content and connect advertisers and brands. Again, I love the fact that Outbrain supports publishers, and being from the publisher side for the last decade, the idea of continuing support of publishers like Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and MediaCorp really appealed to me.
Jovary Jose, Director of Sales, Outbrain
Jose also shared in the same exclusive interview that Outbrain is working on a new hire to work with premium publisher partnerships across the APAC region.
“We are excited to continue innovating and building the best native advertising products for publishers and marketers for many more years to come,” he concluded.
With pandemic restrictions largely disrupting normal human activities, it is no wonder that there has been an exponential rise of modern trends and practices among affected markets, including the prevalence of mobile gaming across a wider demographic.
It is no surprise that our top story for this month concerns the ‘powerhouse’ figure of the Indonesian market when it comes to mobile gaming activity and consumption.
In the latest report released by marketing cloud company InMobi, they have found that aside from the new 46% of respondents saying it is their first time venturing into the mobile gaming space, data also shows that 80% of Indonesian respondents say that they commit to playing mobile games at least once or several times in a day, in which interestingly, the 35-44-year-old bracket showing up as the age demographic with the highest commitment.
In an exclusive interview with MARKETECH APAC, Rishi Bedi, general manager and vice president of Southeast Asia, Japan, and Korea at InMobi notes that mobile gaming has seen a steadfast growth in the region from the one and a half years, adding that Southeast Asia alone has 215 million mobile gaming users, and in Indonesia alone, there has been ‘double the growth’ of mobile gaming users in the particular market.
If we look at the analysis of the data, one that we see is the behavioral patterns of the time of usage of the mobile games, which are very different from what it used to be earlier, now consumers are spending more time through the day, [even] as early as 6 AM. Second is that we have seen a shift in demographics, one per se is that the perception of mobile gamers is young men below 25 years of age, but that’s not the case. We see about 60% to 80% of these [mobile gaming] consumers are above 25 years of age.
Rishi Bedi, GM, VP, SEA, Japan, and Korea, InMobi
When asked for advice for marketers looking to tap into this huge online market of online users, he says that one should first leverage the scale and reach of mobile gaming in the target market, noting the transition of their market.
“There is a huge amount of segmentation possible in mobile gaming, there is diversity [where] you could target the right audience and the desired demographics. There are mobile offerings and a range of other elements that you can leverage that are very unique to mobile gaming, featuring elements like interactivity and augmented reality,” Bedi said.
Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – SleekFlow, the Hong Kong start-up that provides an omnichannel social commerce platform to companies, has announced that it will now be expanding its business to SEA markets Malaysia and Singapore. This follows its recent funding that has raised a 7-figure MYR in a Pre-A round investment from Gobi Partners China (Gobi), the investment manager of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF).
SleekFlow helps companies manage communication channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, as well as Line and Live Chat, among others, through an all-in-one social messaging platform. It helps streamline sales, customer support, and marketing workflows while integrating with over 2000 tools, including e-commerce platforms and payment gateways, to automate the whole customer journey with ease.
According to Henson Tsai, the founder, and CEO of SleekFlow, there are about 8-10 unicorns in Hong Kong but very few selling SaaS products. Tsai said that SleekFlow aims to be a world-renowned Hong Kong SaaS brand which is why it has decided to first expand to Southeast Asia first and “then to the world.”
“SleekFlow is missioned to realize the full potential of social messaging for business all over the world,” said Tsai.
He adds, “First, I would like to express my gratitude towards the Gobi for believing in SleekFlow. Aiming to scale the height in the Southeast Asia Market, we will set up new teams in Malaysia and Singapore, where people rely heavily on WhatsApp.”
According to the platform, it has, within a year helped users across over 20 countries, with annual recurring revenue of 7-digit USD.
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