Another year will pass once again and what a year it was for us here at AnyMind Group! Before we move into some of the key highlights for 2021, we’ll take a trip down memory lane, back to where it all started.
Going back slightly over five years to April 2016, the company comprised of just two aspiring founders with big ambitions who were operating out of a 10sqm space in Singapore.
In a short span of time, we’ve grown drastically to over 900 staff in 17 offices (or working-from-home) across 13 markets. During this time, six other companies have joined our #AnyMindJourney as we continued to grow our presence and offerings for our customers.
Throughout this growth was a key evolution in the company’s history. We started in the marketing space but have now expanded to cover end-to-end commerce (more on this further down).
2020 was the year we dipped our toes in this new direction, with the launch of AnyFactory for cloud manufacturing and AnyShop for e-commerce enablement. We also launched a program (called D2C for Influencers) that helps influencers create and launch their own brands and products – essentially bringing technological and commerce capabilities for the creator economy in Asia to start their own entrepreneurial journey.
In 2021, the D2C for Influencers program was in full flow, and we also knew that the same technology can be applied for companies across the region (and the world), which is why we also launched D2C for Enterprise to equip businesses with tools for cloud manufacturing, marketing and e-commerce enablement. In the past year, we also launched AnyLogi, a platform for logistics management, including order, inventory and delivery management (we’ll also dive deeper into our products launched in 2021 below).
Today, we’re powering some of the most established businesses in Asia, the fastest-growing organizations in the region, enterprising influencers and content creators and the most innovative publishers in Asia and beyond.
2022 will be an exciting year for us with even more products on the way, as we look to power the region (and ultimately the world) to enable end-to-end commerce. Watch this space!
- Accolades in 2021
- Developments on the platform front
- How D2C is turning out
- Other key business movements
Accolades in 2021
With the business continuously growing and our product suite constantly being expanded and improved upon, 2021 saw us receive multiple accolades.
LinkedIn placed us 8th in their Top 10 Startups in Japan 2021 list, along with Wantedly selecting us in the top three for Best Team of the Year 2021 award out of 41,000 companies.
Apart from the above, Forbes JAPAN placed us 9th in their JAPAN START-UP OF THE YEAR 2022 rankings, making it our third consecutive year within the top 20 startups and the first year that we appear in the top 10.
Moving on to products, The Drum Digital Advertising Awards APAC 2021 saw judges voting AnyTag, our influencer marketing platform, as “Game-Changing Advertising Technology” for the year, whilst AnyManager, our all-in-one platform that maximizes the value of websites, apps and e-commerce, was a finalist for the “Best Overall Technology for Programmatic Trading (sell side)” award.
AnyManager was in the headlines once again, this time being awarded the “Innovation Award” by the Google Certified Publishing Partner program, with new features launched in the past year including app analytics, a no-code Web Stories generator, and social media analytics, to help publishers grow in various ways.
Last but not least, Endeavor, the world’s leading community of high-impact entrepreneurs, selected Kosuke Sogo, the CEO and co-founder of AnyMind Group along with the company, to join Endeavor’s prestigious network of entrepreneurs. Going through a rigorous vetting process, only the most promising startups and companies globally can be part of this, and we’re one of those 1,391 companies (at the time where we were appointed) around the world.
Developments on the platform front
Our core products have come a long way since the start – we’ll first take stock of where we’re at.
- AnyFactory – a cloud manufacturing platform that enables users to source and manage manufacturers and orders across Asia and design and create products
- AnyShop – for e-commerce enablement, including store analytics and optimization, store integrations and payments
- [NEW in 2021] AnyLogi – a platform for logistics management including order, inventory and delivery management
- AnyTag – a platform for influencer marketing and social media analytics
- AnyCreator – a creator growth platform for influencers to view social media analytics, join influencer marketing campaigns and more
- AnyManager – an all-in-one platform that maximizes the value of websites, apps and e-commerce
- AnyDigital – a platform for digital marketing including web, mobile app and digital-out-of-home advertising
In the past year, we went full-in on commerce enablement, expanding our existing products and adding AnyLogi to the mix.
With AnyLogi, customers who are looking to scale their direct-to-consumer (D2C) and e-commerce businesses can tap on a platform for order, inventory and delivery management, along with functionality for automation, real-time updates and more. AnyLogi is also integrated with Shopify and Rakuten Ichiba, with more integrations coming soon.
Apart from AnyFactory’s existing functionalities, we’ve also launched a self-serve product design function where users can select from a catalog of items and create or add their own designs. We looked into Supply Chain Unique Tracking, enabling easier optimization of production processes and trackability of individual items.
Oh yes, we also launched an online retail store for influencer products called PopBox – right now just in Japan and Thailand, but this will launch in more markets really soon. We’ll also connect our various D2C tools to PopBox such as AnyFactory, AnyShop and AnyLogi, providing merchants with an end-to-end solution to easily create, showcase, sell and fulfill products and orders.
We’ll head on over to AnyTag next and provide you with some insight into why it was crowned game-changing advertising technology. At the start of 2021, the platform already had capabilities for users to discover, activate, manage, track and attribute influencer marketing campaigns along with social media analytics, but we didn’t want to leave it at that.
We launched capabilities for more dynamic communication between marketers and influencers, along with much deeper metrics for influencer marketing campaign performance. Later in the year, we opened up the platform to more agency types, including talent management agencies, influencer agencies and multi-channel networks – apart from marketing and PR agencies. On the other hand, we also introduced Natural Language Processing-driven features such as lookalike modeling of influencers along with the identification of past brand collaborations.
With AnyManager, apart from features launched this year including app analytics and Progressive Web Apps implementation, a no-code Web Stories generator, and social media analytics, we’ve also launched Core Web Vitals analytics for publishers to better understand a crucial part of search engine optimization and ranking.
We’re continuing to upgrade our existing products whilst expanding our wider suite of products, but until we launch something new again, here’s what we have:
Brands With a wide array of products on offer, brands can tap on AnyFactory to source and create products, AnyShop to dive into or enhance e-commerce and D2C capabilities, AnyLogi to manage everything related to logistics until the purchased product reaches the end-customers hands, AnyTag and AnyDigital for influencer marketing, social media and digital marketing, and AnyManager for its e-commerce features including analytics, user engagement and site build optimization.
Influencers and creators We have one of the largest offerings available today for influencers in Asia, including AnyCreator for analytics and brand sponsorships, social media monetization and content optimization, along with the tools and expertise for them to start their own brands and create and sell their own products, such as our D2C offerings including AnyFactory, AnyShop and AnyLogi.
Web and app publishers Apart from the AnyManager platform and advertising demand from over 70 partners, publishers can also tap on social media monetization and content optimization, and D2C offerings (or media commerce as some may have it) – bringing additional growth opportunities and revenue streams. We have more on media commerce below with what we’re doing for Gizmodo Japan.
There are so many more happening as we constantly upgrade our products and continue to expand our suite of offerings!
How D2C is turning out
What a year 2021 was for us in helping influencers go D2C! From Japan and the Philippines to Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and more, influencers from across the region are launching their own brands and creating their own products, and we’re right in the thick of it.
From a Gen Z influencer group, sleep consultant, high-school student, anglers, to celebrities from Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, and even pet influencers. In fact, these influencers are not just launching apparel and merchandise, but also products such as fragrances, children’s products, calendars, protein supplements, basketballs and cosmetics.
In fact, an influencer’s uncanny ability to pull in buying power (something that marketers around the world now know), was put on show multiple times. Lil Ambition, a D2C apparel brand by Japanese live-streamer Momoko Ushie, sold out all its apparel products just 15 minutes after launching. Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwanese duo Marc and Mary sold NT$1,000,000 worth of their calendars within 24 hours.
As mentioned earlier, Gizmodo Japan, one of the largest gadget blogs in Japan, used our suite of tools to create and run an e-commerce store specializing in gadgets called Giz Yatai. Gizmodo Japan’s editors would curate items from around the world and these products will be made available in Japan.
Speaking of brands, we also launched our D2C for Enterprise offering to provide marketers, and online and offline enterprises of all sizes with tools and resources to accelerate their e-commerce and D2C growth. Chengdu-based Meross is one of these brands that tapped on our products including AnyShop, AnyManager, AnyLogi and AnyTag to go D2C in Japan.
Additionally, we are collaborating with two firms – TBM and Bioworks – so that customers who want to create products using sustainable materials can do so!
Other key business movements
We’ll start off with acquisitions, where Japan-based ENGAWA became our sole acquisition of 2021. ENGAWA provides inbound and outbound marketing solutions for Japanese businesses and local governments in Japan to reach international audiences, and owns Tokyo Weekender, the longest-running English language lifestyle print and digital publication in Japan. With ENGAWA, we can now leverage on a network of over 700 manufacturers throughout Japan along with their expertise in merchandising and distribution.
Elsewhere in the world of AnyMind, we signed partnerships with firms including SMBC Group-owned PlariTown, Bloom&Co., and Dentsu Digital, for them to leverage on our technology to better support their customers.
We also partnered up with one of the largest multi-channel networks in Japan and a leader in creator management and content marketing, UUUM, which saw the mutual utilization of resources from UUUM and our technology and data for influencer marketing and D2C offerings.
In 2021, we combined our two offices in Ho Chi Minh City into a brand new space (equipped with a giant AnyMind Group logo-shaped light), and we also launched a second office in Japan in the Saga prefecture (situated in the picturesque Wataya Villa).
Last but not least, we teamed up with the global leader in collective protection against sophisticated bot attacks and fraud, HUMAN Security. HUMAN Security’s ad fraud detection and prevention solutions will be integrated throughout our in-app video advertising offerings.
A look ahead to 2022
Throughout our years, a few things have stayed constant – we move really really fast and we are constantly improving and expanding our products. These will continue in the coming year(s), as we move deeper into end-to-end commerce enablement from our humble roots just over five years ago.
The only thing we can say is: “Watch this space!”