Serm Teck Choon, former country head of CtrlShift Malaysia, has co-founded an AI-driven martech company known as Antsomi, alongside executive chairman and co-founder Dinh Le Dat (pictured right). Serm (pictured left) serves as CEO and co-founder of Antsomi, which is headquartered in Singapore. The company also has offices in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Its mission is to help businesses transform into a data driven company. Antsomi has close to 20 individuals in the region.
Serm is a familiar figure in the adtech space, having been in the industry for the last two decades. Meanwhile, Dinh is a technopreneur, big data and adtech evangelist, who also launched Vietnamese digital agency Ants Programmatic, which brought in an annual revenue of US$20 million, the press statement said. In a statement to A+M, Serm said with the advent of 5G, the world will be even more connected and digitised. Hence, this will impact all aspects of marketing, ranging from mobile, web, email, conversations, digital ads and in-store experience. According to him, this makes martech an interesting space to watch in the next decade.
"Being in adtech for the last two decades has been a valuable experience for me. Just take a look at how the lumascape - a series of charts providing an overview of the adtech industry - has evolved in the last 10 years and you could learn a ton from being in that space, especially how to adapt in the fast pace environment like adtech. That has already happened on the martech side and it is exciting to be in this space," he explained.
When asked about his vision as co-founder of Antsomi, Serm said its vision is to "unleash the full economic potential of digital businesses and connected consumers, especially in the 5G era where everyone and everything is connected.
According to Serm, who has also worked in companies such as Star Media Group, Dinh and the engineering team began building data-related modules for more than 10 large clients in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. This year, the team realised that the firm was ready to tackle the region. Hence, Serm decided it was time to move on from his role at CtrlShift in April this year to ramp up work for Antsomi. Serm added that the company spent the last two months working tirelessly on key tasks such as product positioning, packaging and marketing, for the preparation of Antsomi’s regional launch.
Antsomi chose Singapore as its headquarters because of its advanced martech needs and requirements. "Also, Singapore offers us a great startup network and an investor friendly environment," Serm explained. He added that offices were set up in the respective countries - Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam - as Antsomi already has team members based in these locations, offering the company touchpoints and support for existing and potential clients. The next two countries on its expansion list are Philippines and Thailand.
"Our main targets are retail, eCommerce and media. We have started a few major proof of concept projects in the region lately, while some brands such as a leading electronic retail chain and the largest TV station in Vietnam have already onboarded with us," Serm said.
Kicking off the launch of Antsomi is its first product, Antsomi CDP 365, which the company said is the first-ever customer data platform (CDP) software developed out of Southeast Asia. Antsomi CDP 365 is an AI-enabled marketing technology software that empowers everyday businesses to understand each of their individual customers’ profiles at scale and drive impactful marketing actions. This is done via multiple channels, both online and offline, 24 hours a day throughout the year.
According to Antsomi, the software uses its AI engines to unify all existing customer data from multiple data sources - such as mobile, web, social media, CRM, DMP, POS, and offline channels - to form individual customer profiles, which are then activated across multiple channels that are highly personalised to the customer lifecycle stages. Such activations include mobile, website, email, conversations, digital ads, in-store, product recommendations and one-to-one engagement.
"As a martech company launching its first product which is a CDP, the CDP players active in the region are our competitors," he said. He added that the company brand, website and social channels will launch this week. Moving forward, Antsomi will organise roadshows to promote and raise awareness about the company brand, and showcase its product in industry events.
"Since CDP is relatively new to the region, we hope to play a role to educate the market by organising CDP related workshops and webinars featuring localised case studies. We also started to engage with academic networks and data scientists in the region to form strategic partnerships, for playing a role in uplifting the standard of data and AI in the future," he explained.
One of the challenges brands face today is the siloed data infrastructure, Serm said. According to him, they have several consumer touchpoints and plenty of data without identity resolution. While brands want to provide an omnichannel customer experience to their customers, they have difficulty activating the data seamlessly across multiple channels and touchpoints, Serm explained.
"The misconceptions brands usually have when it comes to unifying their data is that they just focus on connecting the existing data points. What they need to do is setting a clear goal for unifying their data, and then identifying the missing pieces of data in their existing data pools to enrich the data, and ultimately activating the data to fulfill their defined goal," he said.
Serm foresees a post-COVID world making digital more important than ever, especially in the area of how companies can run their business seamlessly in both the online and offline worlds. Serm explained that data, especially customer data, will become the core of businesses. "Businesses need to have a 360-degree view of their customers so they can provide an omnichannel customer experience to their customers, across multiple touchpoints, or in both the online and offline worlds," he said.
Meanwhile, Dinh said data is the new oil of the 21st century. Therefore, it is important that businesses are able to decode their data to understand the nuances of their customer lifecycles and act on them seamlessly across multiple channels.
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