AdzCentral gets SG$4 mln booster

Regional - Audience buying firm AdzCentral has raised SG$4 million in its latest funding round, which will be used for its upcoming expansion plans in the region, said founder & CEO Reza Behnam (pictured).

Behnam told Marketing that funds would be channeled toward building sales and marketing efforts and products. This was raised in a Series A funding provided by venture capital investors Electric Sheep Capital and Digital Media Partners (DMP).

Also, in the past year, the company has quietly set up a presence in Thailand and Malaysia, and is currently reviewing the markets of Indonesia, and would be looking at Philippines and Vietnam after, he added.

The company has evolved its offering to becoming more than just a demand-side platform since the time it launched in Asia in 2010.

It now layers other services such as campaign services and consulting to help companies with media planning and buying, data analytics, forecasting, campaign set-up, campaign management, and reporting.

"Our solutions team is what sets us apart," said Behnam, in reference to being compared to competitors such as Brandscreen, which also offers audience buying technologies in the region.

"Clients benefit from the industry knowledge and expert skills we deliver as part of a complete solutions package and platform," he said.

Now, Behnam sees at least 60% to 70% of new business coming from marketers directly themselves, a trend that has only picked up with the company in the last year. Previously, it saw more of its business coming from agencies or brands that already had agencies.

Real time bidding advertising is still arguably new to the Asia Pacific region, really only entering the region in 2011. While in the past year it has been gaining prominence with marketers and media agencies, real time bidding advertising remains a small share of Asia's US$25 billion digital spend at only 3% as of 2012, according to Group M industry estimates.

However, the digital industry has high hopes for it, and the same report by Group M also projects real-time bidding advertising to reach an ambitious 20% of the overall digital advertising pie by 2015.

One of the issues that plague RTB advertising from taking off in Asia Pacific is fragmented data silos. But Behnam argued that it is not so much a lack of data in the market, but rather that technologies that help to gather data are not applied enough.

The next step for real-time bidding is the more traditional media arena, for example, television, for which markets such as the US are already looking at, added Behnam. When asked if that was a move AdzCentral was considering, he confirmed it is a space he is watching.

Some of AdzCentral's clients include brands such as SingTel and Singapore Management University, American Express, 3M, Unilever, Standard Chartered, MasterCard, Citibank, KLM, Formula 1 and Hyundai.