Image: AdsZay co-founder and Ezay CEO Kyaw Min Swe has developed a network of 1600 and growing rural mom and pop shops which AdsZay
EME and Japanese investor Seiji Kurokoshi, together with Ezay, have announced the formation of a new company, AdsZay with a combined six figure investment. AdsZay will leverage the rural shopkeeper network created by Ezay to allow FMCG companies, telco firms and other key players seeking to expand their reach to rural areas. By digitising and delivering stock direct to rural mom and pop stores, Ezay has grown to more than 1,600 active rural retailers since founding its business just six months ago. AdsZay will build a network of dedicated and exclusive ad spaces at each of these stores, paving the way for nationwide growth among brands.
Rural mom and pop shops serve anywhere from 50 to 500 households in their respective villages, with customers visiting several times each week. Market research shows that large brands are often poorly represented in rural areas as brand messages are diluted and low prices are the priority of consumers. With AdsZay’s ad display model, shop owners serve as AdsZay’s client’s partners in solidifying brand salience in their respective communities. Data collection, enquiry tracking and an immediate point-of-sale optimizes each ad display unit to ensure the effectiveness of every ad dollar spent.
AdsZay’s timing is worth noting. COVID-19 has caused companies to tighten marketing budgets and many households are facing harsher economic conditions. However, now is the time to build and upgrade the AdsZay network, train shopkeepers and fine-tune the AdsZay offer. With unique access to a growing rural network, AdsZay will spend the coming months working closely with its shopkeepers to ensure data accuracy and identify key locations for brand awareness and product activation campaigns.
EME’s Portfolio Growth Advisor, Claire Lim, a former Director at Ogilvy, is spearheading the initial stages of AdsZay company development in close partnership with Ezay’s founder, Kyaw Min Swe. After a recent field visit, Claire Lim said, “AdsZay will completely redefine the way that big brands think about these hard-to-reach areas. Very few brands are well represented at the village level and by combining high quality advertising with shop-level data, AdsZay will provide unmatched value”.
Seiji Kurokoshi, who recently led a round of investment into Ezay alongside EME, noted Adszay represented the opportunities presented by emerging markets, “Convenience stores in Japan are hubs of information in their communities. We see the same thing in rural areas of Myanmar. AdsZay will upgrade these stores and provide them with new and exciting ways to serve customers while also helping leading brands offer products to new geographies”.
Seiji Kurokoshi is a serial angel investor and avid supporter of startups in Japan and abroad, in Japan he owns and runs COEBI Incubation Office, a AAA incubation centre where he supports and invests in social entrepreneurs. His latest investments in Myanmar include into Ezay as well as Myanmar’s leading digital content provider, Bagan Innovation Technology.
AdsZay marks the ninth portfolio company for Myanmar-based venture capital company, EME since its founding in October 2018. Other portfolio companies include CarsDB, automobile eClassifieds; Joosk Studio, animation and illustration; Masterpiece Group Myanmar, business process outsourcing; Mote Poh, employee benefits-as-a-service; Natural Farm Fresh, Agri-tech; Ezay, rural eCommerce; and Kyarlay, baby products eCommerce.