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.
Today, we have a pipeline of businesses to grow with the first being D2G Brands and it’s inaugural skincare brand, LAVLAVLUV. LAVLAVLUV has created the “World’s Most Calming Face Mask” by combining New Zealand Lavender and Moroccan Lava Clay in a way that is PETA-approved cruelty-free and vegan.
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 its first brand, LAVLAVLUV.
New skincare brands built around the world’s most unique ingredients.
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.
LAVLAVUV combines New Zealand Lavender and Moroccan Lava Clay in a way that is PETA-approved cruelty-free and vegan. These three core reasons to believe are easy to understand by the consumer.
Combining our in-house brand building and a robust team of supply chain partners across Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand and China, the initial product has been created and exported to the United States.
Leveraging social media to run beta-testing on the value proposition, the reasons to believe are resonating and validated.
It’s now time to leverage the START network of brand builders to make LAVLAVLUV the hottest new skincare brand on Instagram.
START has a pipeline of other projects it will build in the coming years. This allows START to have a portfolio of businesses and a diversification of revenue. When investing in START an investor is investing in a portfolio of businesses versus a single one.
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.
March 2020 - LAVLAVLUV’s digital presence is brought online.
April 2020 - Initial units arrive at the fulfillment facility in the United States.
May to June 2020 - D2G Brands develops it’s influencer marketing engine to create engaging content to share across it’s social media channels.
July to August 2020 - D2G Brands beta-testing commences and it begins garnering a cult-following in the Indie beauty world.
September and October 2020 - The initial launch of PR campaigns commence for LAVLAVLUV.
Indicative Usage of Funds
RM496,000 will be used to grow LAVLAVLUV, create new variants and manage inventory. The balance raised will be used to support operational marketing and ongoing management activities 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.
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.