Mobile marketing firm Affle buys VC-backed Vizury’s commerce business

Mobile marketing firm Affle buys VC-backed Vizury’s commerce business
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle
10 Sep, 2018

Singapore-based Affle Holdings Pte. Ltd, which provides mobile commerce and marketing solutions for consumers and businesses, has acquired the commerce business of digital customer relationship management (CRM) company Vizury Interactive Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Vizury's commerce division includes the re-targeting media business and the push notification CRM platform business, Affle said in a statement. It didn't disclose financial details of the deal.

As part of the transaction, employees, other assets and customer contracts related to the commerce business of Vizuary would also be transferred to Affle.

The acquisition is intended to strengthen Affle’s consumer platform propositions centred around mobile advertising.

Vizury had rebranded its other business arm, a growth marketing unit, as Lemnisk last month. Lemnisk helps financial companies such as banks and mutual funds grow their digital presence by delivering leads and conversions. 

“Vizury’s commerce business has built a strong technology platform that we believe should become one of Affle’s key assets and help us strengthen our business across multiple markets,” said Anuj Khanna Sohum, chairman, managing and CEO at Affle.

With its commerce business, Vizury serves clients across markets including India, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

Launched in 2008 by Chetan Kulkarni, Gourav Chindlur and Vikram Nayak, Vizury helps marketers acquire customers through personalised marketing solutions.

In 2013, the company launched a mobile advertising retargeting product, called MobiConvert, which includes mobile web and app retargeting on both iOS and Android devices and conversion features like app deep linking and click-to-call. 
The company has clients across industries such as travel and hospitality, e-commerce, healthcare, automobile, financial services and classifieds.

Vizury has so far raised $27 million. It raised angel funding in March 2009 and Series A funding in October 2010. In October 2012, it raised $9 million in Series B funding from Nokia Growth Partners, Ojas Venture Partners and Inventus Capital Partners. The most recent round was in June 2014 when it secured $16 million in Series C funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from Ascent Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Inventus. 

The company had resorted to a round of employee layoffs in 2015 when it attempted to reinvent itself as a data and marketing platform. A company spokesperson had told Techcircle at the time that Vizury had laid off 50 people across three cities as it was reworking its retargeting business.

Affle IPO plans

The mobile commerce, marketing and analytics company was founded in 2006 by Sohum and Anuj Kumar. The company has created a Mobile Audience as Service (MAAS) platform, besides various other platforms and services such as ad2campaign and Ripple used by global commerce and marketing firms to promote and optimise their mobile programmes.

Affle operates through seven offices worldwide with over 180 employees. Besides Singapore, the company has offices in Gurugram, Mumbai, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

VCCircle had recently reported that Affle Holdings was looking to list its India unit this financial year. The company, which counts Times Internet and Microsoft Corporation among its key investors, is looking to raise $100-110 million (Rs 668-735 crore) through the listing of Affle India Pvt. Ltd.

Other investors include D2C, a joint venture of NTT Docomo and Dentsu; Japan's Itochu Corp., and Asia private equity firm Centurion Investment Management.

Affle had initially planned to list the entity in its home country but market volatility in Singapore prompted the decision to list in India, said one of the above-mentioned persons.

The company is said to have hired Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India) and ICICI Securities as merchant bankers to arrange the proposed share sale.