Beauty box startup VanityTrove acquires Rocket Internet’s Glossybox Taiwan
February 2, 2013 by Terence LEE
Following an announcement of its expansion into Taiwan, Singapore’s VanityTrove has today revealed that it has acquired Glossybox Taiwan for an undisclosed sum. For Glossybox, a Rocket Internet company, this move completes its exit from several countries in the region in order to focus its efforts on larger markets in Europe and North Asia.
Both Glossybox and VanityTrove are subscription commerce companies modeled after Birchbox. Every month, they deliver ‘beauty boxes’ containing cosmetic samples to subscribers, while at the same time acting as a marketing platform for cosmetic brands.
VanityTrove Taiwan will be led by its new CEO, Sanjay Shivkumar, who is also the co-founder of Replaid, a mobile development company most well-known for Summon Auntie, an app that helps users prevent getting booked for illegal parking.
Taiwan is the latest destination in VanityTrove’s aggressive expansion efforts. Started out of Singapore in December 2011, the company has expanded to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. In August 2012, it had around 5,000 subscribers and over 15,000 deliveries, and is in the midst of raising a round of funding.
Its brands partnership team has grown too, increasing from a staff strength of 3 six months ago to 13 employees in January 2013 to accommodate demand from beauty brands. The startup has a team of 40 spread out across five countries, with its top three markets subscriber-wise being Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand.
This acquisition could potentially propel VanityTrove into becoming a market leader in Southeast Asia plus Taiwan. The company gets Glossybox Taiwan’s subscriber list, and will continue to fulfill orders for existing Glossybox customers.
“Combining with impeccably reputed VanityTrove was an obvious step for our subscribers. After welcoming our subscribers, VanityTrove will be the clear market leader in Southeast Asia,” said Derek Lee, CEO of Taiwan Glossybox. Discussions for the merger began before Glossybox announced that it was leaving the country.
Glossybox’s exit from Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as Australia before that, would probably still make it the largest beauty box company in the world. It has 250,000 subscribers in North Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Birchbox, meanwhile, was known to have over 100,000 subscribers in Europe and the United States.
Moving forward, VanityTrove will focus on consolidating its presence in the five markets before venturing farther.
“While we acknowledge the potential in at least 2 more Southeast Asian markets, we are careful not to spread management bandwidth too thin,” said Douglas Gan, co-founder of VanityTrove.
2013 is shaping up to be a breakout year for subscription commerce companies from Asia.
Over the past two years, these startups have been quietly building their customer base and establishing themselves quickly into profitable businesses.
Then, just couple of weeks ago, Bellabox, another beauty box brand with a presence in Singapore and Australia, announced that it had raised a Series A round of USD1.4M.
If the subscription commerce concept continues to gain traction, they could become attractive acquisition targets for New York headquartered Birchbox, who had acquired European clones in a bid to expand there and might do the same in Asia.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE