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Series E 3 billion yen (USD$27M) funded start-up sansan appoints Neo Media World as agency of record

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MUMBAI: Neo, the global performance marketing agency network that is part of Mindshare has been appointed by Sansan as its agency partner, effective February of 2019. Neo is designed to work with digital economy businesses to scale at speed. This will see the agency handling media investment, planning, and management for the newly funded start-up. The scope of work also covers Sansan and its portfolio of products.

Tokyo-based Sansan has, since 2007, developed unique cloud-based contact management tools for corporations and individuals. Centred on business cards as building blocks, Sansan’s main offerings enable remarkably fast and accurate building of a cloud-based contact database, accessible anywhere. Sansan’s flagship B2B system is at work in over 6,000 companies, including Lenovo Group Ltd, Merck & Co, and Seven & i Holdings Co.

The most recent round of investment by Japan Post Capital, T. Rowe Price, SBI Investment, and DCM Ventures brings Sansan’s total funding to over USD$100 million.

Sansan boasts an overwhelming 82% market share in Japan. The company launched its namesake B2B product, Sansan, in Singapore in 2015 and its B2C service, Eight, in India in 2017. Sansan’s products digitize contact data with superb accuracy enabled by proprietary optical character recognition (OCR) enhanced by AI and human input.

“When I started the global expansion for Eight, I sought agency partners that can truly provide Sansan with scale and speed,” says Edward Senju, Executive Producer and Leader for Eight India. “With the Neo and GroupM partnership in Singapore, we aim to capture a region ripe for disruption.”

“In this new economy world, growing and matured start-ups seek unconventional thinking and solutions to effectively scale in an important growth period. Our understanding of audience, tools, and thought-provoking ideas for this blue ocean market gives us an edge in forming this partnership. Our global network of 116 offices in 86 countries makes it possible for Sansan to tap into our agility and on-the-ground strengths,” says Animesh Kumar, CEO of Neo Singapore.

“At this build stage of Sansan—and Eight, we are young and it’s hard to consider a partnership with a GroupM agency,” says Krishna Agarwal, Sansan Senior Marketing Manager. “Chatting with Animesh was enlightening: Neo somewhat resembles a start-up agency with GroupM wings. Its ability to move with the quickness of a start-up, yet with stable and reliable operations and support of a large network agency, is a major plus.”

“Neo has been investing in people, which has led to the deep specialism in what we do. The team brings

more than 15 years of experience in connected media, which has resulted in award-winning campaigns over the years. Partnership with Sansan comes at an opportune time and we are confident in strengthening their brand and business in the coming years”, added Aashay Shah, Neo’s Regional Media Director for Sansan.

With the Series E funding, Sansan is now looking to expand globally with Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia as their focus markets.

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