Affle is committed to deliver consumer acceptable technology innovations, says Anuj Khanna Sohum – India Infoline

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Anuj Khanna Sohum, CMD and CEO, Affle (India) Limited

Our clients are across key industry verticals including e-commerce, food, travel, transport, entertainment/ OTT/ gaming, healthcare, BFSI/fintech, telecom and others.

Anuj Khanna Sohum, Chairman, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Affle (India) Limited, is technopreneur with about two decades of experience in leading consumer intelligence-driven technology company. He is a passionate, vibrant and dynamic leader who has been at the helm of driving force at Affle. Anuj founded Affle in 2005 and has transformed the company as the first Indian company with a strong presence across the global markets including North America, South East Asia, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Japan, Korea & Australia. Since then he has been nurturing and steering the company and recently got listed in both NSE and BSE. His passion for technology and new media innovations have led Affle Holdings to earn the trust of investors like Microsoft, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., Centurion Corporation Limited, Itochu, D2C Inc. (NTT DoCoMo & Dentsu JV). Anuj has a vision of transforming the company as a global leader in the mobile media ad tech space. His sharp business acumen has helped to steer the company towards valuable alliances and successful growth in all the verticals in India & overseas. He is leading the company into its next phase of evolution, where Affle is rapidly gaining momentum. Anuj possesses exceptionally effective entrepreneurial leadership skills with an extensive capacity to attract and develop business projects, build strategic relationships, manage transitions and generate optimal results is leading Affle to its zenith.

In an interview with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.comAnuj Khanna Sohum said, “We believe that our extensive consumer profile data, proprietary technology and market knowledge across emerging markets makes us better placed compared to global peers to deliver profitability.”

Brief us about the products and services offered by you.
We are a consumer intelligence platform that helps marketers in deriving ROI on marketing spends by enabling consumer conversions in three main areas:

  1. Firstly, we drive new user conversions on mobile apps. With consumer intelligence of over 2 billion connected devices profiledglobally and 250+ billion data points refreshed this FY; we deliver new user acquisitions by using AI-based algorithms for behaviour analysis from various sources.
  2. Secondly, we drive repeat conversions from existing user. Our platform utilizes advanced deep learning algorithms based on user-intent indicators derived from behavioural signals, conversion and transactional data received in real time and accumulated over time that increases our ability to predict repeat conversions from existing users.
  3. Thirdly, we enable conversions and reservations offline based on online consumer engagements. We enable a well-connected consumer journey by converting online engagements into offline retail conversions and foot fall in retail stores. Our platform reveals offline retail store inventory online via API and programmatic links and provides catalogue management, order management with measurable ROI to retail brands.
To sum it up, Affle helps clients to drive online as well as offline conversions from new users and repeat users using our consumer intelligence platform.

As India’s first listed and leading ad tech solutions provider, what are the challenges that you face?
We achieved a record breaking 86.5x over subscribed listing in India and our H1 FY2020 results have been well received by the investors. The challenge is to educate the stakeholders on our differentiated and asset light scalable business model so that they may value us for the sustainable, profitable, global growth potential of our business.

What is the company’s geographical presence in India as well as globally?
In India, with two R&D centres based out of Gurugram and Bangalore along with a sales office in Mumbai, we have a leading position in the market and dominance in emerging markets like South East Asia (SEA) and Middle East Africa (MEA) where we have strong on ground presence. While we also serve some of the customers in geographies like North America, Europe, LATAM, Japan, Korea & Australia.

Who are your clients and they belong to which segments/industries?
We work with advertisers and agencies globally to help them reach out to high ROI shoppers and drive conversions online and offline. Our clients are across key industry verticals including e-commerce, food, travel, transport, entertainment/ OTT/ gaming, healthcare, BFSI/fintech, telecom and others.

Who are your peers and what is your strategy to combat competition?
Our biggest differentiator is that we don’t charge advertisers for just ad impressions or clicks; we charge advertisers when we deliver deep funnel outcomes or conversions both online and offline. As mentioned earlier, despite high smartphone penetration, only 15% of users are actual shoppers online in emerging markets. Therefore, we believe that our extensive consumer profile data, proprietary technology and market knowledge across emerging markets makes us better placed compared to global peers to deliver profitability.

Regarding our peer group, there are no direct listed peers in India, although there are few internet platformcompanies in India like Info Edge and IndiaMART. Globally, there are few listedcompanies in this space like the TradeDesk, Criteo and FreakOut.

You have recently filed 14 technology patents, can you throw some light on this?
We recently filed 4 new patent applications in Singapore in the areas of conversational marketing & vernacular and voice-based intelligence and expanded the jurisdiction of 10 patents earlier filed in India by filing in the patent office of the USA as well.

With this, we have built a robust patent portfolio of 18 patents filed in India, US & Singapore. It has 3 patents granted in US including the Consumer Acceptable Advertising patent and 1 patent filed in US for partner pixelling for user identification; 10 patents filed in India and US covering various algorithms of digital fraud detection; 4 patents filed in Singapore in the areas mentioned earlier.

What has been your growth mantra?
We are driven by passion, innovation and entrepreneurial commitment to create sustainable value for stakeholders globally, through our consumer intelligence marketing platform for consumer acceptable ads on connected devices.

Our team is committed towards operational excellence to drive sustainable growth, cash flows and to invest in attractive inorganic opportunities that shall further enhance value for all our stakeholders. We have a track record of being profitable for over 5 years now with consistent focus on capital efficient returns and we are committed towards it for decades to come.

Affle’s Q2/H1 results have been stellar, what are the factors that influenced the company’s performance?
I am quite satisfied with the performance which is well supported by the overall consumer trends of greater time spent across connected devices, increased adoption of online payments and consistent growth in digital marketing spends across key industry verticals.

Our mDMP platform has over 2.1 billion connected devices profiled globally, and we will continue to invest in the 4V strategy of Voice, Video, Vernacular and Verticalisation to reach the next billion shoppers on connected devices. While our new R&D centre in Bangalore will fortify our competitive advantage in big data, machine learning & advanced deep learning models.

What is your outlook for FY20?  
We are fundamentally inspired about delivering consumer acceptable technology innovations across connected devices that help our valued clients including advertisers and agencies, achieve high value business outcomes and we will continue this journey in the years to come.