Beauty and wellness startup Bfab lands seed funding
By Lum Ka Kay January 6, 2016
- Seed round led by KK Fund, with 500 Startups and Captii Ventures participating
- A one-stop platform to connect users to salons and beauty experts
KUALA Lumpur-based startup Bfab said it has landed an undisclosed amount of seed funding – described as being in the six-digit US$ range – in a round led by KK Fund, with 500 Startups and Captii Ventures participating.
Bfab, for 'be fabulous,' is as a beauty and wellness services online marketplace that allows users to book hair, massage, spa, nail, waxing and makeup services from the beauty salons featured on its website.
The seed funding will be used build out and officially launch its platform, which has been in beta since December 2015, the company said.
Founder and chief executive officer Pawel Netreba, the former foodpanda managing director, described getting funding at such an early stage as “extraordinary.”
“Our investors are high-calibre [players] of the venture capital industry; having them as investors and advisors is going to push us to the next level,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
“We’re about to change the entire beauty service industry, as well as shake up all the existing competition around South-East Asia that has been around for a while without making a real breakthrough,” he declared.
Netreba also claimed that besides regional fitness-sharing platform KFit, Bfab is only the second startup in the history of 500 Startups to have received such early stage funding.
“This clearly demonstrates the confidence of 500 Startups has in us,” he added.
In an official statement, KK Fund managing partner Koichi Sato said he believes Bfab cofounders’ past entrepreneurial experiences could change the beauty services industry in South-East Asia.
Meanwhile, 500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng said, “This business model is an eventuality and the Bfab team has proven the speed of execution required to make this revolution happen.”
Netreba also said he hopes to expand Bfab’s market reach to encompass the entire South-East Asian region within two-and-a-half years.
According to Netreba, Bfab’s main focus is to provide “ultimate convenience” to users with its real-time booking availability.
“With Bfab, you can book your appointment, even at 2am, with instant confirmation.
“Also, you can access real-time calendars of salons to see if you can just stop by for a quick manicure at the nearest salon in the next 30 minutes,” he said.
Founded only in September 2015, Bfab selects the best salons to be listed on its website by considering brand awareness, quality of service, referral and brand appearance of the salons, according to Netreba.
“In the end, we want to offer a wide selection of salons with a certain level of service and quality for customers to choose from. Every customer should find a salon suited to his or her preference, location, brand and price segment,” he said.
He said that Bfab takes a cut from each secured booking on its website. The startup currently has over 250 salons in the Klang Valley listed on its website, and plans to grow the number to 1,000 “as soon as possible.”
Netreba also took pride in Bfab’s “professional approach” in providing high-level services for both merchants and customers, which he claimed was one of the greatest differentiation points between it and its rivals.
“We provide full-fledged customer service in the form of a dedicated call centre for both customers and merchants.
“Also for merchants, we provide support to help them manage their online presence – from uploading and managing their content and optimising their services, to providing a dedicated account manager for the merchants to solve issues that may arise,” he said.
Netreba said Bfab’s vision is to build a one-stop platform to connect salons and beauty experts with customers who are looking for beauty services.
“This platform should be easy to use, available anytime, and provide instant booking.
“The key was to do it on a bigger scale in Malaysia so that everyone can enjoy the convenience of booking beauty appointments online from a huge variety of merchants,” he said.
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