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MUI venture arm is lead investor in perfume-subscription service provider’s seed-funding round

January 27, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 25): Diversified group Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI), through its venture arm Pan Malaysia Ventures Sdn Bhd, has emerged as the lead investor in designer perfume-subscription service provider Scentses + Co’s seed-funding round under a strategic partnership that will allow Scentses + Co and MUI to effectively offer a more holistic retail experience that focuses on online and offline purchasing experiences to better appeal to new consumer preferences.

In a joint statement on Tuesday (Jan 25), MUI and Scentses + Co however did not specify how much money Pan Malaysia Ventures has invested in Scentses + Co, which was launched in July 2020.

Speaking to The Edge, a MUI spokesperson said Scentses + Co “is not MUI’s first venture-capital investment”.

In the statement, MUI and Scentses + Co said the collaboration between both companies is set to be beneficial to MUI as it will see MUI tap into Scentses + Co’s forte in digital marketing to complement MUI’s digitisation and online-to-offline transformation plan while MUI retools its business strategies in the new normal as the global community contends with the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The synergy between both brands has already borne fruits for The MUI Group’s retail and hotel subsidiaries, namely MJ Department Stores Sdn Bhd (Metrojaya) and Corus Hotels Sdn Bhd, with Scentses + Co’s digital approach in helping attract a younger demographic of customers. Conversely, the physical presence of The MUI Group’s subsidiaries has provided Scentses +Co’s customers with a plethora of offline value-added services such as self-collection for their convenience and promotional offers.

“The cross-brand collaboration aims to leverage a rapidly increasing e-commerce market that has been buoyed by the [Covid-19] pandemic accelerating digitalisation and normalising online shopping. With pandemic restrictions easing, the partnership will allow Scentses + Co and The MUI Group to effectively offer a more holistic retail experience that focuses on both online and offline purchasing experiences to better appeal to new consumer preferences,” the statement said.

In start-up funding terminology, seed, Series A, B, C and D funding rounds are synonymous with the different progress levels of newly established businesses prior to their initial public offerings.

Upon completion of the seed funding and Series A funding rounds, the companies, which have grown past the development stage and established customer bases for their products, will move on to the subsequent funding rounds, during which, anchor investors will bring in more financing for these companies from other investors.

MUI chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Khoo said in the statement that the drive and bold spirit of young entrepreneurs, who have successfully innovated the centuries-old fragrance market, appeal to MUI.

“Not only do we see value in what Scentses + Co can achieve but equally important, we see value in how they can complement and contribute to our portfolio of brands as we continue to invest in diversifying our sales approaches to appeal to a more dynamic and younger audience,” Khoo said.

Scentses + Co founder and CEO Sadira Yeong said in the statement that the company’s partnership with MUI is “momentous and mutually beneficial” as Scentses + Co believes the designer perfume-subscription service provider will be able to fast-track its growth trajectory by leveraging on MUI’s immense retail experience and footprint.

According to MUI’s website, the diversified group is an investment holding company. “Through its subsidiaries and associated companies, The MUI Group is primarily engaged in retailing, hotels, food and confectionery, financial services and property development,” MUI said.

The MUI-Scentses + Co joint statement said Pan Malaysia Ventures is an entity under Pan Malaysia Corp Bhd.

According to Pan Malaysia Corp’s latest annual report, MUI owned direct and indirect stakes of 27.53% and 38.97% in Pan Malaysia Corp respectively as at Oct 4, 2021.

At Bursa Malaysia on Tuesday (Jan 25, 2022) as of the time of writing, MUI’s share price fell 0.5 sen or 7.14% to 6.5 sen for a market capitalisation of about RM190.45 million.

MUI has 2.93 billion issued shares, according to the company’s latest annual report.

Source: The Edge Markets