PINS today announced the acquisition of all the foreign subsidiaries of PINS.co outside the Baltics and Finland and the related technologies developed by these entities. A strong investment consortium from Japan and Western Europe will own this new global FinTech start-up which will be named PINS.
After the success in the Nordic region of PINS as a leading loyalty currency, this transaction will now allow PINS to take on the challenge of becoming a world leader as a cross border currency for Big Data. The Company has its initial offices in Tokyo, Istanbul and Riga. This deal, for an undisclosed amount, includes the ownership of the PINS brand in all markets outside the Baltics and Finland and 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.
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 Company’s exciting new FinTech and Big Data technologies, linked to its cross border currency. This transaction facilitates both objectives and will allow PINS to accelerate the worldwide expansion.
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 personalized offers. PINS is rolling out its solutions for specific clients in the areas of Media, Smart Cities, Smart Stadiums and Smart Highways.
In Japan, the Company launches 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’ve shifted significant amounts of their marketing budgets to the likes of Facebook and Google, 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. The advertisers are only paying for ads that are actually viewed and clicked on by people, not bots, allowing PINS to deliver hyper-sensitive contextual marketing. The solutions can also be used for so-called OOH (Out of Home Media), such as billboards, Public Transport Advertising, even creating value for smart city technologies combined with Augmented Reality.
In Turkey, PINS supports the world’s first Smart Highway, in a long-term strategic co-operation 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 EUR 11Bn, 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.
PINS will be led by Gabi Kool whose professional background includes the support of global marketing activities for numerous Fortune 500 companies. As former CEO of PINS.CO Gabi built the original PINS program into the leading Coalition Loyalty business in Northern Europe. Gabi was recently recognized as Industry Personality of the Year at the Loyalty Magazine Awards and was listed by Management Team magazine as one of the 100 most influential global managers from the Netherlands. He is joined at PINS by a team of leading engineers and product developers as well as the former management team of PINS.CO.
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. As part of this transaction we put a lot of value on the relationship with airBaltic and its subsidiary PINS.co which will remain as our partners in the Baltic States and Finland. We are very excited to start the new journey, supported by a great team.”
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 center 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.”
Jouni Juhani Oksanen, SVP of E-Commerce, Sales and Marketing at airBaltic: “airBaltic will remain the owner of PINS.CO and continue to improve its services as a leading Coalition Loyalty business and frequent flyer program provider to its 2.4 million users in the Baltics and Finland. Like airBaltic, PINS.CO is regarded as an innovative company, boosting the global visibility and reputation of Latvia as a business-friendly country. We are proud of these achievements and are committed to building a strong partnership with the newly established company PINS”
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