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PINS buys up foreign subsidiaries to create fintech currency Japanese investment consortium majors in funding

PINS, the loyalty currency whose roots were in airBaltic, has been bought by a global consortium of Japanese and Western Europe investors.

It means all the PINS subsidiaries outside of the Baltics and Finland are now in one group. airBaltic will continue to run PINS.CO in its home market.

Run by former Loyalty Magazine Awards Personality of the Year winner Gabi Kool, PINS wants to become a world leader as a crossborder fintech based currency for Big Data. The company has its initial offices in Tokyo, Istanbul and Riga. This deal, for an undisclosed amount, includes the establishment of a long-term partnership with PINS.CO to embed new technologies into the Baltic and Finnish markets for the existing customer base of 2.4 million users.

Loyalty Magazine understands that the core reason for the transaction is that the investment focus of airBaltic, owner of PINS.CO, is on Northern Europe. At the same time, global investors and companies have shown strong interest in the fintech potential to link the cross border currency with big data for a range of linked uses such as smart city functionality and AR.

PINS’ shareholders are a Japanese consortium, including serial entrepreneurs Ryuji Nakamura and Shigeki Tanaka and other top executives from media and real estate industries in Asia and Europe including Gabi Kool, the former CEO of PINS.CO.

The company aims to become a global leader in the fast emerging field of Data-as-a-Service (DAAS). Its innovative solutions, like Shake & Win and Drive & Win, encourage real time interaction with consumers in exchange for highly personalised offers. PINS is rolling out its solutions for specific clients in the areas of Media, Smart Cities, Smart Stadiums and Smart Highways.

Japan launch
In Japan, the company is launching a Next Generation media solution in partnership with Tokyo MX, a leading TV broadcaster in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Tokyo MX also joined the project at a shareholder’s level by owning a 24,5% stake in the Asian business of PINS.

The Shake & Win technology and PINS currency will engage viewers during TV shows, to receive real-time offers by shaking their phone during participating shows and advertising. The aim is to win back advertisers, who have shifted significant amounts of their marketing budgets to the online giants for digital advertising. The Shake & Win technology allows advertisers to combine Big Data with the mass reach of traditional media, such as TV, and to ensure that results are measurable at an individual level, making it is possible to re-engage with consumers.

Turkey
In Turkey, PINS supports the world’s first Smart Highway, in a long-term strategic cooperation with the Turkish Highway Public Corporation Otoyol A.S. It will track and reward safe driving along the new 400 km highway between Istanbul and Izmir. For spending at participating retailers along the highway, users will receive offers, including the cross border digital currency “PINS”. At Eue11bn, the highway represents one of Turkey’s largest infrastructure projects to date. The PINS app in Turkey includes various digital radio stations by KissFM, provided by DijiMedya, the market leader of digital radio networks and music licensors for retailers, hotels and restaurants. DijiMedya is also one of the shareholders of PINS in Turkey.

Shigeki Tanaka, SVP Asia business support: “We see many possibilities to develop PINS through this strategic investment, with an initial strong focus on the Asian Markets. We have identified PINS’ big growth potential by serving smart society concepts via its innovative approach of combining Big Data and a cross border currency. We highly value the talented team in Latvia and that is why the technology and R&D function of the global company will be maintained in Riga.

Gabi Kool, founder and CEO of PINS: “With the backing of this strong investor consortium and the strategic partnerships in Turkey and Japan, PINS will be off to a flying start. Our presence in the Baltics will give us access to world-class engineering talent and our presence in Japan’s leading FinTech centre will establish our position as part of a highly selective environment of the most promising FinTech start-ups in the Asian and European markets. This will allow our company to rapidly roll out our services with many of our partners.”

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