A Beauty-ful Ride
12 July, 2021
HOW FAVFUL TRANSFORMED MALAYSIA’S BEAUTY INDUSTRY
Right on the heels of an announcement by iMedia of their acquisition of Favful, Gobi Partners, one of the longest-standing Pan-Asian venture capital firms in the region, shares our thoughts on the company and their ascent to becoming one of the most popular online social platforms in Malaysia.
A quest to encourage universal good self-esteem and humble beginnings
Launched in 2016, Favful began with the noble mission to help Malaysians from every background feel good about themselves and to foster a stress-free beauty shopping experience for everyone.
2019 and the leap to e-commerce
Three years later, Favful expanded their services, pivoting to include an e-commerce segment and opening the doors for consumers to a whole new range of cult beauty brands, including American favorites Rare Beauty and The Ordinary, as well as Korean classics Innisfree and Banila Co. As Malaysians began to flock to Favful for their beauty fix, the company simultaneously grew their fan base, becoming an influencer marketing network and onboarding over 3,000 beauty and lifestyle influencers as well as securing an audience reach of 150 million. Today, they are Malaysia’s leading community online beauty store and one of the country’s fastest-growing influencer marketing companies.
Favful’s secret sauce
While many factors contribute to Favful’s rise, their unique utilization of combining crowd intelligence from their community with preference intelligence generated through machine learning has really propelled their success. However, a bigger part of their progress can solely be attributed to the tenacity and drive of their female founder, Sasha Tan. An ex-Vice President of Happy Fresh, Sasha has earned her place in the spotlight; she managed and continues to manage a lean team and overcame a host of obstacles to run a platform that quickly became a place for Malaysian beauty consumers to turn to for advice and unique cosmetic finds. Her dedication to the job garnered her and her startup several awards.
A Timeline of Sasha’s and Favful’s Awards:
- 2016: Favful wins a Commerce Award;
- 2016: Sasha places 12th on Tech in Asia’s Promising SEA Entrepreneurs list;
- 2016: Sasha is honored as one of the Top 10 Inspiring New Generation Malaysian Businesswomen;
- 2016: Favful makes it to the Top 20 in the K-startup Grand Challenge in Korea;
- 2017: Sasha gets a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list;
- 2017: Sasha wins a Golden Globe Tigers Award (Women Achievers & Leaders category);
- 2017: Sasha is named on CLEO magazine’s Hotshots 30 under 30 list
- 2018: Sasha is listed as one of Malaysian Business’ 40 under 40 Inspiring Young Malaysians.
Providing the support a growing business requires – Gobi comes into play
“I am grateful for Gobi’s seed investment; the firm was one of the earliest investors in Favful and helped us to grow to where we are today. Together with iMedia, I am looking forward to bringing Favful to new heights and further develop the brand legacy that we’ve created thus far.” – Sasha Tan, Founder.
Gobi’s interest in Favful was piqued in 2016 and was supported by an emerging trend of online beauty communities where users share their experiences and trade questions and answers about popular products. We invested in Favful through our early-stage vehicle and second ASEAN fund – SuperSeed Fund I (backed by MAVCAP and Khazanah Nasional Berhad). Post-investment, we guided Sasha through building a startup that was still finding their place in the ASEAN entrepreneurial scene. All our entrepreneurs benefit from Gobi’s full stack approach, and Favful was no different; their marketing and e-commerce strategy was bolstered through our network of partnerships, and they have become one of ASEAN’s fastest-growing e-commerce brands.
We have been privileged to work with Sasha, providing exclusive advice as well as in-depth financial and tactical guidance. Behind the scenes, Gobi helped her identify and pursue numerous strategic priorities, leading to Favful’s acquisition by iMedia. Ultimately, Gobi’s success begins and ends with our relenting commitment to support our Founders.
Favful in the future and beyond
With Favful’s 100% acquisition by integrated digital media company iMedia, the company will now be part of a bigger entity that is slated to be listed on Bursa Malaysia. iMedia sells media advertising solutions for popular local language sites, social influencer platforms and mobile apps, which Sasha’s platform can now leverage on to scale regionally. For Sasha and Favful, the only way is up, and Gobi is proud to have been part of their exciting journey.
About Gobi Partners
Gobi Partners is one of the longest-standing venture capital firms with a Pan-Asian presence across North Asia, South Asia, and ASEAN with over US$1.1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai, supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.
Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 13 funds to date, invested in over 270 startups, and has grown to 13 locations, across Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Manila, Riyadh, Shanghai, and Singapore.
As a Participant of the United Nations Global Compact, Gobi Partners is committed to aligning strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.