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Contexts of 3 Big Latest News
At the end of 3rd year of SOPHOLA, this month, we were able to release three big news.
The first is a strategic partnership with PPC Protect from the UK for Japanese market.
2018: Exclusive strategic partnership with AdScale.
2019: Exclusive strategic partnership with Longtail UX.
By forming partnerships with global tech firms that could differentiate themselves from any competitors, we were able to realize businesses with leading domestic companies and agencies that we could not deal with alone. However, in order to respond to changes such as rapid market changes, we decided to challenge the area of ”ad fraud”, which is a major market issue in Japan and has a lot of room for entry. Unlike previous partnerships, there was no direct top-to-top dialogue! Through PoC (proof of concept), I could confirm the competitive advantages of products / services and the great personality of the ground teammates. This is a very rare case where we were able to establish a partnership from the bottom up. Since it will definitely be an important solution in the current ad fraud market environment in Japan, we would like to work with PPC Protect to serve advertisers of various sizes in Japan.
And the second is about the recent capital increase. Next month, we will be at a very good milestone for the company as we enter the fourth year. I went back to the company values that the company cherishes again, and from the next fiscal year, I and my wife have decided to rebuild the company again. At our company, in addition to the three company values, there are three important concepts, and we will need to spend more time to find a right person to create such a company culture together as well as matching the person’s values, career, and life plan. At first glance, I felt like I was taking a detour, but in the medium to long term, I think that doing this ground consolidation will be the “root of the growing tree” of SOPHOLA. At the same time, the B2B E-Commerce business for traditional crafts will finally start from the next fiscal year, so it is necessary to proceed with the platform development. We have done the capital increase necessary to realize these.
Finally, the third is the introduction of the Longtail UX solution to Marukome. This initiative is also a case that seems to be a turning point for SOPHOLA, and we were able to realize the initiative for the first time with a company headquartered in Nagano Prefecture. When I moved to Nagano three years ago, there was no network I had in Nagano, and even if I made cold sales, no one was interested in business with us. It was successful to immediately change our sales strategy—create businesses with various leading companies in Tokyo, and re-approach the local companies. After all, I could close this Marukome deal from the end-customer service inquiry form:) However, the fact that a person who trusted me said “logo collectors are meaningless” is a very unrelenting word that does not try to understand such sales processes and efforts and greatly damaged trust. I was so shocked. (I myself sometimes unintentionally say a word that hurt the other person, so it was an opportunity for me to reflect on myself at the same time.)
2021 will be a completely different year with the solutions we focus on and other measures we will work on in the medium term. There is no doubt that it will be a difficult year, but I will make it an important year for further growth. Thank you for your continued support.
Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO
PS: I had the most delicious pasta in Nagano the other day!