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TheSmartLocal CEO bullish on media tech transformation with acquisition of MY-based firm StackIdeas

TheSmartLocal CEO bullish on media tech transformation with acquisition of MY-based firm StackIdeas

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Singaporean media publisher, TheSmartLocal (TSL) has acquired Malaysia based software company StackIdeas to broaden TSL’s tech ambitions. TheSmartLocal, which is an independent company looks to give locals hyper-local information on their country and was started up by Bryan Choo in 2013. It currently boasts over 200 million annual pageviews across its articles, and have over 3,000 unique clients serviced to date. It also has over 140 employees across the board. 

As part of its 10th year of growth, the company is now looking to shift its ambition and double down on tech and data. In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Choo (pictured) said that StackIdeas was acquired to transform TSL to a media tech company – rather than a media content company alone. “Stack Ideas and TSL Media Group have established a long and successful working relationship over the years. With this acquisition, we can now focus on fully transitioning into a media tech company with an extensive data arm,” he said.

While Choo declined to comment on the cost of the acquisition, he shared that StackIdeas' specialisation will enable TSL Media Group to meet increasing industry demand for data and insights. With the acquisition, there will be a dozen new head count. “In turn, [we can] produce more quality content and tech-driven solutions which are hyper-relevant to its audience and clients,” he said.

“A new media company in 2023 has to leverage technology and data to ensure clients get the most out of their advertising across all channels,” added on Choo.

Stack Ideas has been around since 2010, and had built a successful business developing technology solutions in areas of web development, social networking, and online community platforms. “Stack Ideas and TSL Media Group have a long and successful working relationship over the years. I am confident this integration will bring exponential growth to both parties. We are thrilled to join the TSL family and look forward to embarking on newer and more impactful projects together,” said Stack Ideas’ co-founder Mark Lee, who has joined TSL Media Group as its CTO.

Alongside its plans to grow in the areas of tech and data, TSL also has clear ambitions to grow its branded and advertising business. Earlier this year, TSL appointed two new senior hires from the ad industry – namely Jonathan Seto who  joined the team as its chief growth officer while Nicolle Sing has been appointed group director. Both positions are newly created roles. Seto comes with nearly 20 years of integrated marketing experience in various independent and network agencies. Prior to joining TSL Media Group, he was the managing director at multi-specialist B2B agency MOI Global.

Meanwhile, Sing was last with global social media influencer agency Goat, where she was part of the team that helped expand the agency’s presence across 13 markets in Asia as its business director. Her experience spans more than a decade across the region, and she has helped manage and grow brands such as HSBC, Porsche, WarnerMedia and Google.

On the corporate management front, TSL Media Group also made other key appointments to accelerate the company’s growth. Thomas Teo, formerly of Deloitte Consulting and Changi Travel Services, was appointed as its chief of staff and head of CEO Office; Li Sihui, previously from The Ascott Limited and edu-tech pioneer General Assembly, joined as its head of Brand Comms.

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