Near moves into SEA, targets it as key growth region in APAC

Near, a location-aware mobile advertising platform, is shifting its global HQ to Singapore and entering Malaysia and Indonesia.

Near, a location-aware mobile advertising platform, has just announced today that it will be entering its services in Southeast Asia soon, starting with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia….

It originally completed the move of its global headquarter from India to Singapore and are expecting to house more than a dozen staff members by the end of this year. The Singapore office will oversee regional operations, sales, marketing and product development while its India operators will focus on research and development efforts, and continue to serve the local customer and partner base.

Near provides a location-aware technology platform for advertisers enabling precision targeting of consumers on their mobile devices. By aggregating user information, points of interest, trends and behavioural patterns and marrying them to contextual ad formats, Near helps brands connect with their audiences with relevant information.

In November 2012, the company received a funding of US$6.5 million from prominent venture capitalist firms Sequoia Capital and Canaan Partners to support expansion plans. Anil Matthews, CEO of Near dubbed Singapore as the “perfect launch pad” for their expansion into Southeast Asia.

Shobhit Shukla, vice president of Near Asia Pacific, shared that in 2008, when people searched for mobile advertising, they got moving cars with texts on them. In 2010, Internet users got SMS advertising, which is still around right now. In 2012, they finally got their part of in-app advertising. But these advertisers are largely blind and do not know where their money is really going to. Near is there to take on both online and offline consumer behavior, helping advertisers bring data to users who will find the information relevant.

In 2009, when Internet giants were still struggling to understand mobile advertising, Near was blazing a trail with its unique proprietary location-aware technology which can identify the location of a user down to an accuracy of 20 metres, without the need of GPS or operator dependence.

Why Southeast Asia? Isn’t India bigger?

Speaking with e27, Anil explained that even though India is indeed bigger in terms of population, Southeast Asia has seen market dynamics change dramatically. “Southeast Asia [holds a bigger opportunity] than India. In just six to 12 months, this opportunity will become bigger.”

Starting with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, where he said had more potential in terms of spending power, they will definitely work on entering the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. However, he does envision several challenges like understanding the respective cultures in the region. He shared, “The way we need to sell in Indonesia is different [to that in Malaysia or Singapore]. Hiring is different to get local presence. We’re launching on geographic data [so] we have to do a lot to understand.”

In India, Near has partnered with major brands like Ford, Intel, Nokia and Pizza Hut amongst other giants in their own fields. Anil and Shobhit both explained how it targets users and provides them with data they will find relevant: For example, if you are always found hanging out near Changi Airport, it could be deduced that you are a frequent traveler. This will allow brands to provide you with travel-related advertising.

Near will be participating at ad:tech 2013 (booth 21) in Singapore from 13 to 14 June 2013.

Source : e27