SME Spotlight

$2m for start-up that tracks online browsing habits

Co-founders (from left) Paul Jansen, Sally Loh and Christopher Yeo of data analytics start-up aSpecial Media, which will link up with GNum to launch a service called GNum Analytics.
Co-founders (from left) Paul Jansen, Sally Loh and Christopher Yeo of data analytics start-up aSpecial Media, which will link up with GNum to launch a service called GNum Analytics.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore-based telecommunications company GlobalRoam has invested $2 million in a local data analytics start-up.

The deal announced yesterday involves GlobalRoam unit GNum linking up with aSpecial Media to launch a service called GNum Analytics that marries their core businesses.

ASpecial Media tracks in real time the websites that consumers visit as well as their online shopping carts and purchase history. It analyses the trends, and stores and updates the information as individualised customer interest profiles.

Chief executive Christopher Yeo, who like co-founders Paul Jansen and Sally Loh was formerly an executive at Singapore Press Holdings, said aSpecial Media can "track and profile users as they read their articles, within milliseconds".

GNum offers a service based on a patent-pending technology from GlobalRoam. It lets users call a private number anywhere in the world simply by clicking on a text or image hyperlink online.

The GNum Analytics service will allow businesses that use GNum for Voice Over Internet Protocol calls to study caller trends and anticipate buying behaviour. GNum chief executive Alexandre Yokoyama said aSpecial Media's experience in data analytics would provide his company's clients with "meaningful data they can monetise".

The $2 million investment by GNum provides aSpecial Media with the funding needed to improve aSpecial Media's data analytics technology, said Mr Yeo. Developing more accurate and specialised technology is part of his dream of "building Asia's largest real-time behavioural database" for businesses and marketers to target consumers.

Mr Yeo added that, as a Singapore firm in compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, aSpecial Media anonymises the data that it collects. However, its clients, "who have the right to collect such information from their customers", can still access the information that personally identifies each individual Internet user.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline '$2m for start-up that tracks online browsing habits'. Print Edition | Subscribe