Yello Mobile, the Korean company that gobbled up 61 companies last year and recently raised $100 million, is always hungry for acquisitions, and it’s back at the table again after picking up Gushcloud, a Singapore-based influencer marketing platform that operates across Southeast Asia.
Both parties declined to reveal a valuation for the deal, but they did tell TechCrunch that it is “multi-million dollars” and for a majority share of the company.
In simple terms, Gushcloud is a service that allows companies and brands to tap into influencers on the internet; including bloggers, YouTubers, vloggers, influential Twitter folk etc. It was the center of controversy last year when Singapore’s most prominent blogger Xiaxue accused it of a range of disingenuous activities, including inflated numbers, buying fake followers and making its bloggers mask ads as genuine posts.
Yello, which is valued at $1 billion based on that recent funding round, is a curious company and certainly not your average tech unicorn.
It is perhaps best thought of as a holding company for a range of mobile services, although it does provide input and assistance across its network. Its businesses span a range of verticals, including mobile shopping and advertising, mobile travel, online-to-offline retail, and mobile media. Its CEO previously said it will look to go public in 2016.
So, what does Yello see in Gushcloud?
It’s often hard to know for sure given its penchant for acquiring seemingly any startup doing anything in mobile in Asia. But, Gushcloud’s focus does couple with Yello’s existing advertising and marketing business, which it claims has over 5,000 clients from across five countries.
Yello has made acquisitions in Southeast Asia before — including deals in Thailand and Indonesia — and opportunities in the region are a key component of the deal, according to Gushcloud co-founder Vincent Ha, who will continue to lead the company in a new role within its parent’s marketing and advertising arm.
Korean brands are taking Southeast Asia and the rest of the world by storm, dominating in mobile phones, household appliances, skincare, fashion, entertainment and pop culture. Gushcloud and its sister companies look forward to working with the many of these Korean brands to help them stand out from the clutter in the online world.
Yello said it plans to acquire at least 20 more marketing companies across Asia this year, so expect to see more deals like this — it typically cloaks its spending as ‘undisclosed’ — in 2015.
It’s worth noting that there’s a twist to how Yello integrates companies. It doesn’t. Well, there is no requirement to be assimilated, at least. Acquired founders allowed to “continue building their own companies, as if they were still totally independent,” Yello Digital Mobile CEO Lee Sang Seok said in a statement.
Read more about Yello’s curious approach to acquisitions and growth in our story from January.