GlobalRoam subsidiary GNum invests US$1.5mil in big data startup aSpecial Media
By Digital News Asia July 22, 2015
- To launch GNum Analytics, combining IP telephony service with analytics apps
- Will help businesses track the behaviour and buying patterns of the ‘silent majority’
TELECOMMUNICATION services provider GlobalRoam Group Ltd said it has invested S$2 million (US$1.5 million), through its subsidiary GNum Pte Ltd, for a “significant minority stake” in Singapore-based big data analytics startup aSpecial Media (pic above).
aSpecial Media was set up by three former Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) executives and is backed by several local entrepreneurs and angel investors, GlobalRoam said in a statement.
aSpecial Media’s shareholders include Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF); Leslie Loh, founder of System Access (the banking software developer acquired by US-based SunGard Data Systems in 2006); and Frank Levinson's Small World Group incubator.
GNum concurrently announced that it would launch GNum Analytics, a service that combines its own IP (Internet Protocol) telephony service with the analytics applications of aSpecial Media.
“GNum will soon integrate aSpecial’s capability to decipher consumer patterns from the way people get informed and read about a specific product or service, which can improve and enrich the relationship of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) with their customers,” said GNum chief executive officer Alexandre Yokoyama (pic).
“GNum aims to deliver a global toll-free service enhanced with analytics data in a unique and user-friendly product,” he added.
The service will help businesses track the behaviour and buying patterns of the ‘silent majority’ of Internet users.
This ‘silent majority’ frequently scans the Internet for news and information but – unlike the vocal minority of Twitter or Facebook users – may not actively post comments on social media or blogs, GlobalRoam said in its statement.
Yet, it is the opinions and preferences of the former that shape buying patterns as e-commerce becomes increasingly prevalent, it added.
aSpecial Media claims to currently has over 29 million consumer profiles, analyses more than 127 million articles read every month, and approximately 300 enterprise customers.
The funding from GNum will help it move faster towards its goal of becoming Asia’s largest database of real-time behaviour to enable businesses to reach the right person at the right time.
“This investment and partnership [would] enable both sides to grow our regional presence rapidly,” said aSpecial Media chief executive officer Chris Yeo.
“aSpecial Media will be able to tap on the existing relationships that GlobalRoam and GNum have with regional telcos, which will accelerate our plan to boost the number of consumer profiles to 100 million in the next three years,” he added.
In recent years, traditional advertising to get consumers to open up their wallets has yielded mixed results, GlobalRoam said.
Small enterprises, in particular, often find traditional advertising costly, and even struggle to get their messages across to their target audience given the growing ubiquity of advertising tools, including social media channels.
On their part, marketing experts increasingly seek deeper insights on the average consumer. Until now, these insights have been hidden and overshadowed by dependence on social media analytics, which largely decipher patterns based on relatively smaller audiences who actively post their views on social media.
Businesses can now effortlessly track and analyse consumers’ behaviour to decipher potential trends and develop more targeted strategies to reach out to their audience, GlobalRoam said.
aSpecial Media’s unique algorithm understands consumer’s interest by analysing what they read on their smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. By studying their reading behaviour in real time, aSpecial Media is able to show what people are interested in.
This data is stored and continuously updated as interest profiles, which is a more efficient predictor of potential consumer activity than demographics, according to GlobalRoam.
Capturing data this way gives insights into consumers’ behaviour and interests that businesses otherwise would not detect from plain social media postings.
GNum will leverage on aSpecial Media to expand its own core IP telephony business. GNum’s parent company, GlobalRoam has a patent-pending technology that allows calls from any device to be routed to a user’s mobile phone through a personalised call link that can be easily shared through text or image hyperlinks in email signatures, documents, and websites.
“This investment via our subsidiary GNum elevates the value positioning of GlobalRoam beyond IP telephony and will allow us to engage enterprises more directly using the power of Big Data,” said GlobalRoam founder and chief executive officer Clarence Tan.
GNum’s call links – already launched in Singapore and coming to new markets – allow businesses and users to stay contactable without having to reveal their numbers in the public domain.
Enterprises using GNum Analytics will be able to study caller trends and, eventually predict what these callers are likely to purchase or are interested in.
On Oct 20, 2014, GNum received S$7 million (US$5.1 million) of seed funding from Tembusu Partners Pte Ltd, a private equity firm in Singapore.
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