Southeast Asia’s online-to-offline (O2O) space is hot. Platforms linking online customers with offline services are now part and parcel of daily life, from the likes of well-backed Go-Jek and Grab, to Fave – one of the region’s most exciting new O2O companies.
Fave started starting out in 2015 as a fitness sharing platform called KFit before stepping into multi-category local commerce with the launch of Fave. The company is connecting millions of customers with thousands of local service businesses including restaurants, cafes, salons, spas, hotels, gyms and more.
Founder and CEO, Joel Neoh, talked to us about their journey and how they have found working with Simmonds Stewart.
the Fave story
Fave’s founders Joel Neoh and Yeoh Chen Chow are no strangers to O2O local commerce. Joel started Groupsmore, a daily deals site that was acquired by Groupon in 2011. Joel went on to head up Groupon’s business in APAC, alongside Chen Chow, who led Groupon’s regional operations.
Spotting an opportunity to disrupt the fitness business in APAC, Joel left Groupon to start KFit, the region’s first-ever fitness sharing platform, touted as an Uber style platform for gyms and fitness studios.
After a year of tremendous growth and raising a US$12m series A financing, the company set its sights beyond the fitness space and launched its multi-category platform. It went on to acquire Groupon’s businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
According to Joel, the pivot to a broader O2O platform was a natural progression for the company, as multi-category local commerce presented a much larger business opportunity. Joel observed that apps with high-frequency use cases tend to succeed in a competitive landscape. Fave was launched with a focus on the food and drink category – a major part of life in Southeast Asia.
Whilst deals businesses have been around for a while, Fave is focused on merchant-first innovation via deeper product development and data science. All with a view to enhancing the customer experience with daily deals and rewards. Joel notes that the traditional deals model only brings in new customers to offline businesses and stops there. To truly add value to local businesses, Fave wants to create an ecosystem where businesses can acquire, retain and re-target customers in the online world.
working with Simmonds Stewart
Lee Bagshaw started working with Joel from the set-up of what was the KFit business in 2015. As well as advising Fave on its VC financing rounds, Lee and Chris Wilson have helped Fave on the three M&A deals relating to the acquisitions of Groupon’s Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean businesses.
Joel says that Simmonds Stewart provided insightful and comprehensive legal advice that played a key role in helping Fave reach some major milestones. He specifically notes Simmonds Stewart team’s considerable expertise in VC and tech M&A, which helped the company efficiently navigate the documentation negotiating during its funding rounds and the Groupon transactions.
The future of O2O commerce in Asia looks bright in Southeast Asia as new generation of digitally savvy consumers come online. Simmonds Stewart looks forward to helping Fave continue its rapid journey to become a leading O2O player in the region.