S4 Capital's APAC marcomms lead Deepa Balji joins VC firm as marketing head

Deepa Balji, S4 Capital’s marketing communications director for Asia Pacific, is taking up the head of marketing role, Asia Pacific at venture capital firm, B Capital in mid-July. S4 is in the midst of hunting for her replacement.

“Working at S4 Capital has been a career-defining moment for me. Who gets to work at a disruptor, doubling down on growth and a visionary like Martin Sorrell? Moving to B Capital is the next phase of growth in my career. The venture capital industry is growing and I look forward to the cross-pollination of skills within a different industry to reach innovative, business outcomes,” Balji (pictured) told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

B Capital has offices in Singapore, Los Angeles and San Francisco and focuses on pioneering start-ups that are ready to scale globally. It is also partnering with Boston Consulting Group and its incubation arm, BCG Digital Ventures, to help match startups with renowned CEOs, platforms and brands. B Capital was founded by former Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in 2015.

"I have been watching B Capital from afar the last few years. It’s the fastest growing VC in this region, it has great co-founders like Saverin, Kabir Narang, and in investor relations, Menka Sajnani. Its unique partnership with Boston Consulting Group to scale start-ups with corporate leaders looking to partner with emerging technologies, is what attracted me to the role," she explained. 

Balji joined S4 in 2019 after more than six years with Publicis Groupe. As S4’s first hire in marketing and communications, Balji said the biggest contribution was raising the awareness and strategic visibility of S4 when it started in Asia Pacific. She was tasked to portray why it was different from the other ad holding companies in terms of the work, the technology it uses in the work and the talent profile. Balji also played a role in the mergers in India, China and Australia, and the investor relations marketing play.

"The third contribution is upping the ante with Martin Sorrell. He is a global leader so his visibility is high. Lunch with the FT in December 2020 was a contribution, of which he and I worked together on. Sorrell is game for tough interviews and never shies away from them," she added. 

As a former journalist, Deepa said she has never stopped thinking like one and her network and relationships with journalists will be a plus at B Capital.

"Working at S4, where things move at the speed of light, I bring that agility with me to an even faster industry (or so I hear from my new colleagues). I love speed. Working with a strong, colourful founder as Martin means no two weeks look the same. I’ve honed my skills in stakeholder influencing which will be a plus at B Capital," she added.

Balji first started at Publicis Groupe as Starcom’s regional director, Southeast Asia, brand marketing and communications. She later took on a group level role as executive director, marketing and communications, Asia Pacific and Middle East. In that role, she was responsible for internal and external communications, as well as client-driven events and thought leadership. Balji was also previously KPMG Singapore’s manager, marketing communications.

Balji also has experience on the journalism side, having worked with publications such as Channel NewsAsia and reporter for Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, S4 saw a like-for-like net revenue growth rate from 27% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 33% during the first quarter of 2021 ended 31 March. This was also a large jump compared to the 19% growth in the pandemic-affected first quarter in 2020. At the same time, S4 said the results also represent “an excellent start” to achieving its 2021 to 2023 three-year plan of doubling its size.

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