AnyMind Group, an AI solutions provider, has today announced an additional round of funding of US$13.4 million from LINE Corporation, a communication platform provider and developer of the LINE messenger app and Mirai Creation Fund, a limited partnership mainly backed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and operated by SPARX Group. Existing shareholders, including JAFCO Asia and Dream Incubator, also returned to co-invest in this round.
The funds will be used to further develop existing platforms, grow market share in the advertising, marketing and human resource industries, and bring in the talent to effectively carry out these initiatives.
One of AnyMind Group’s primary goals for this round of funding is on strategic business collaborations with LINE Corporation and the Mirai Creation Fund.
“We have experienced great growth in the past 2.5 years, and are now looking to enter our next phase of progress – expanding market share in the geographies and industries we’re in. As we’ve been operating at a profit since January 2017, our focus for this round was to select investors that could take us to that next level of growth.” said Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AnyMind Group.
As part of the strategic collaboration, LINE Corporation will collaborate with AnyMind Group’s child company, AdAsia Holdings, for digital advertising. AdAsia Holdings provides various offerings in advertising technology, including solutions like the AdAsia Digital Platform for Publishers, which provides online media owners with a solution that consolidates multiple advertiser demand sources with layers of AI-driven optimization of advertiser demand sources and dynamic floor pricing for an advertisement space. Currently, AdAsia Holdings is powering more than 12 billion monthly impressions across 800 publishers in Asia through display, native and video advertising.
“Mirai Creation Fund supports the development and expansion of AI-driven business by utilizing knowledge gained from past investments in many AI companies. In addition, Mirai Creation Fund, in cooperation with its limited partnership companies, intends to conduct more sophisticated advertising and marketing activities in Japan and other Asian countries by utilizing AdAsia’s platform,” said Shuhei Abe, CEO and the founder of SPARX Group.
“AnyMind Group is one of our star portfolio companies, which has built a truly pan-Asian presence with a string of innovative and business relevant products. We have been actively involved with the company since early 2017 and will continue to support in their journey forward. We are very proud of their achievements and hope to continue the momentum,” said Supriya Singh, Head of South Asia Investments at JAFCO Asia.
Since starting operations as AdAsia Holdings in April 2016, the 29-month-old company has expanded into 11 markets, with 13 offices, including a product development center in Ho Chi Minh City. The company generated US$12.9 million in revenue for 2016, and more than doubled that in 2017 to US$26 million, and has been operating at a profit since January 2017.
“Ultimately, we want to empower professionals, businesses and industries to adopt emerging technology, including AI-powered solutions, providing them with end-to-end platforms for their needs. To keep up with the growth of our products in three separate industries, we will expand our engineering resource by four times, and locate additional product development headcount in our Bangkok and Tokyo offices,” said Sogo.
AdAsia Holdings raised an initial Series A funding round of US$12 million in April 2017, and an additional US$2.5 million in September 2017 to develop its technology and scale outside of the advertising and marketing industry. The company also grew from 90 staff in April 2017 to over 330 staff today.
Earlier this year, the startup expanded into AnyMind Group, with the aim of providing industries, businesses and professionals with a suite of technology solutions that enable greater efficiency and scale. These are housed under three subsidiaries.
Since launching in January 2018, TalentMind, an applicant management platform with layers of AI-enabled screening and matching, is now being used by over 150 businesses in Asia, including AnyMind Group’s human resource department. CastingAsia, an influencer marketing platform that enables the matching of influencers to brand requirements, now has over 30,000 micro- and macro-influencers across Asia. In October 2017, AdAsia Holdings, an advertising technology company with solutions for marketers and advertisers, made an entry into the publisher monetization space by acquiring Japanese publisher trading desk FourM, and Hong Kong-based publisher trading desk Acqua Media in September 2018.