Bridging, Innovating and Expanding

Innity, a Malaysian success story, has made strides in the world of media tech.

Expanding one’s business regionally to cover 11 markets in the Asia Pacific is an impressive achievement when we consider the dynamism and lucrative potential of the region as an economic market.

Innity, an e-solutions provider for companies, which was founded in 1999 by both Peter Phang Chee Leong and Fabian Looa, and has grown steadily to become an example of homegrown entrepreneurialism.

Business Today spoke to chief executive officer and co-founder Phang recently to look into the organisational journey as well as uncover insights about regional expansion and the challenges therein.

In its journey of growth and evolution into a multi-solution provider that now includes influencer marketing, content marketing, programmatic solutions and video advertising, Innity, in its early life in 1999, had also dealt in the business of reselling MSN ad inventories. “Since then,” says CEO Phang, “we’ve grown into a leading advertising technology company providing interactive online marketing platforms, present in 11 countries.”

Simply put, Innity bridges the buy side (advertisers and media agencies) and the sell side (digital media and website owners). The extra value that the company adds to this relationship and process is in adding layers of innovative ad technology as well as creativity in many forms such as audience targetting, data management, engaging ad formats, and more.

Presently, according to Phang, the company has “a strong foothold in the region,” covering more than 15,000 websites, including major newspaper portals and premium sites.

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Phang and Looa now manage Innity teams across diverse markets from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong to Myanmar, Cambodia and South Korea.

ATTRACT AND ENGAGE

Operating in such diverse markets in a dynamic region such as the Asia Pacific requires research and insight into the specific and unique characteristics of each market, in addition to other challenges. “The industry has been faced with challenges such as viewability, brand safety and ad fraud,” explains Phang, “but this propels us and the advertiser to think of creative and innovative ways to attract and engage the user.”

Innovation is something central to Innity: in 2009, the company was the first in Asia to offer Cost per Engagement, where an advertiser is only charged when a user engages with the interactive ad. It was also the first to offer a fully transparent ad-serving platform certified by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

“Ultimately, Innity aims to turn advertising into a knowledge experience,” shares Phang; aside from ensuring quality inventories for advertisers, he adds, “We also want to be part of the change to make advertisements less hard-sell and more engaging, interesting, entertaining and informative.”

And in any organisational journey, support comes in many forms.

The MDEC Global Acceleration and Innovation Network (GAIN) programme, created in 2014, selects a handful of growing success stories from the Malaysia digital ecosystem and helps propel them onto the regional and global stage.

Innity became part of this select group of GAIN-supported enterprises, another notch in its tapestry of milestones, one that includes achieving MSC status in 2005, a MESDAQ listing in 2008 and establishing its presence in Myanmar, Cambodia and Korea in 2017 alone.

“Being part of the MDEC GAIN programme has given us at Innity a lot of benefit in three main ways,” Phang elaborates, “and they are in terms of marketing, partnerships and in technology.” He explains how he has been privileged to travel to China after joining the GAIN programme to gain further knowledge in marketing an enterprise overseas. “GAIN helped us to get in where it is not easy for individual companies to go and also in exploring such opportunities,” he adds.

Partnership, or “like matching a company with another,” as Phang expresses it, is another key takeaway from the GAIN programme that he recognises, in addition to the benefit of CEO discussions and GAIN member companies helping one another. “No matter even if you are going abroad,” he adds, “there are other companies that have similar experiences to help you.”

And as champions of Malaysia’s digital ecosystem, MDEC supports GAIN member companies with technology, a fact that Phang mentions. “Education, training and units helping us to hire data engineers – this is what being part of GAIN brings. It’s not easy for us to hire these niche specialists,” he adds, “but GAIN has the domain to help us.”

Looking at the millions of impressions Innity has helped to create across Malaysia and her neighbours, it’s exciting to see where the future takes this Malaysian tech gem.

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