START is a locally owned, Malaysian based, venture builder bringing to life a portfolio of global businesses. For over a decade, our team executed digital builds and advertising campaigns for some of the world’s most inspiring companies inside TBWA Malaysia. In 2018, we noticed an opportunity to build businesses from the ground up using this same approach. That’s how START was born.
After a successful funding of START’s first project D2G Brands and it’s inaugural skincare brand, LAVLAVLUV. START is excited to announce the fundraising for two additional skincare brands created by D2G Brands: Skin Guac and Serum Sea and a new proposition for doing the investing thing better.
What We Do
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
Knowing these statistics, what can be done to ensure the highest likelihood of success in building a new business in 2020? Studies have shown that rapidly evolving technology and global connectedness is exposing traditional business moats as no longer being enough. Many competitive advantages are being turned into commodities. For example, building a website in 2020 can be done in 5 minutes for 5 dollars compared to multiple months just 5 years ago.
This is why the question for building businesses in 2020 has shifted from HOW DO WE BUILD to HOW DO WE ATTRACT CUSTOMERS.
The answer is brand. START addresses this problem by building businesses with brand at the forefront and transactions at its core, because brand delivers value that cannot ever become commoditized.
Forbes’ annual look at the world’s most valuable brands provides validation. The 100 most valuable brands are worth a cumulative $2.33 trillion, up 8% between 2018 and 2019. Outside of the seven largest countries, this figure is larger than all other individual country’s annual GDP.
Knowing the importance of brand, that’s why from day one START focuses on brand and using brand to attract customers to our portfolio of companies.
Why Are We Different
START is not just another venture builder. START is a venture builder powered by TBWA.
Who is TBWA?
TBWA is The Disruption® Company: the cultural engine for 21st century business.
Named Adweek's 2018 Global Agency of the Year, TBWA creates disruptive ideas that locate and involve brands in culture, giving them a larger share of the future.
A collective of 11,300 creative minds across 275 offices in 95 countries. Global clients include adidas, Apple, Gatorade, Henkel, Hilton Hotels, McDonald's, Michelin, Nissan, and Singapore Airlines.
Our Revenue Model
START has three main sources of revenue.
SERVICES - START receives a service fee for each venture it builds. In addition to our own venture building projects.
DIVIDENDS - As a company in the START portfolio grows and becomes profitable, targeted in year two or three, dividends will be paid to START.
EXITS - Once a portfolio company of START grows large enough for a liquidity event, START will receive a disbursement from the sale.
Our Market Opportunity
According to the World Bank, the top 50 largest consumer markets in the world have a combined value of $53 trillion. At START, our opportunity exists to build businesses in any of these markets.
The “START Business Build”, rooted in Disruption® by TBWA, is a proprietary methodology we use to bring our businesses to life.
The application of these principles is perfectly demonstrated in the first business START is bringing to market, D2G Brands, and two additional skincare brands: Skin Guac and Serum Sea.
IDEA : SKIN CARE
New skincare brands built around the world’s most unique ingredients. The two brands in focus, Skin Guac and Serum Sea, will focus on Australian Avocado and a beautiful bouquet of ingredients heavy in vitamin C.
BUSINESS MODEL + PROPOSITION + PARTNERS
Leveraging product categories with the strongest unit economics, D2G Brands turn the world’s most unique ingredients into skincare products. Having the right ingredients that are easy to understand and visually appealing allows a potential customer to know if a brand is desirable in 3 seconds or less, a vital characteristic of brands built to win in the digital-first world where the average person is exposed to over 5,000 advertisements a day.
Skin Guac combines Australian Avocado, Korean Hyaluronic Acid and a 5-Ingredient “Glow Blend” to create an incredibly hydrating face mask. The mask is paired with a beautiful Italian Olive Wood scooping spoon. Lastly, for each face mask that is sold, D2G Brands and Skin Guac proudly plant an avocado tree to fight world hunger and empower women.
Serum Sea is skincare’s first wonder of the world. The brand’s first product combines Kakadu Plum, Acerola Cherry, and Blackcurrant with Hyaluronic Acid to create a collagen-boosting and antioxidant-rich vitamin c serum. Also, with each purchase Serum Sea and D2G Brands makes the world’s seas cleaner by removing plastic bottles and recycling them.
Combining our in-house brand building and a robust team of supply chain partners across Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand and China, Skin Guac is currently going through final steps to ensure FDA compliance, while Serum Sea is currently in the brand design and formula creation stage.
Leveraging in-depth research into search and purchase behaviour on Amazon we have picked two products with incredible search volume and scalable price points.
Our go-live strategy is to leverage the robust e-commerce platform, Amazon. Currently, 50% of all e-commerce sales in the United States take place on this platform. Amazingly, 4,000 products are sold per minute on the platform.
As a result, we want to tap into that captive audience where purchase intent is at the forefront. This will allow us to get to profitability quicker that other channels currently being used by D2C brands.
START is proud to share the following achievements of D2G Brands inaugural brand, LAVLAVLUV, to date:
May 2019 - D2G Brands (Parent company of LAVLAVLUV) sets up shop in START.
June to August 2019 - LAVLAVLUV is designed and supply chain built with partners spanning Malaysia, Thailand and China.
September 2019 - Prototype #1 of LAVLAVLUV’s The Before Bedtime Face Mask is created.
October 2019 - LAVLAVLUV is accepted into PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program.
November 2019 - Prototype #2 of LAVLAVLUV’s The Before Bedtime Face Mask is created.
December 2019 - The formula of LAVLAVLUV becomes FDA compliant.
January 2020 - LAVLAVLUV’s digital presence and social media assets go into production.
February 2020 - Initial run of product is created in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and freighted to the United States.
OCT 2020 - Campaign commenced to build Facebook profiles. Initial Amazon keyword research into new brand ideas for brand launch. SkinGuac product design completed.
NOV 2020 -Skin Guac product manufacturing commences. Target category identified for new brand launch on Amazon.
DEC 2020 -Serum Sea brand identity kick-off. Initial raw material and component sourcing. First LAVLAVLUV press earned in Forbes.
Indicative Usage of Funds
Approximately 18% of the funds raised will be used to grow Skin Guac and Serum Sea production. This will involve product sourcing, formula optimization, and other marketplace optimization requirements in order to ensure success. The balance of the funds raised will be used to enhance performance marketing capacity and as working capital for operations to support investment in additional capacity in START.
Datuk Tim Garland
With an Electrical Engineering degree and working for 10 years in the manufacturing automation business at Rockwell, Tim ultimately discovered that the advertising technology industry was a more adventurous and creative playground. After several ventures started with one sold to TBWA and 10 years of advertising experience, Tim has fine tuned his brand building with tech repertoire. Tim now leads the venture builder, START.
Datin Azalina Adham
Financial Technology Advisor
Datin Azalina Adham was the former Chief Operating Officer at Bursa Malaysia Berhad. She began her career in Bursa Malaysia in 2001 and helmed various positions in the areas of strategy and transformation as well as business and investor development, with the last being the Director of Strategy and Transformation. She has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the financial and capital market industry, including corporate finance and investment banking, having worked in Aseambankers Malaysia Berhad and Amanah Merchant Bank Berhad. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Purdue University, United States of America.
Entrepreneur in Residence
A graduate of both Duke University and the MIT-Sloan founded Asia School of Business, Jack is the Founder of D2G Brands. A former Venture for America Fellow, Jack has led growth in two venture-funded companies in the United States.