From Mazkara to Fabogo, glam-tech startup bets high on organic user acquisitionAparajita Choudhury
With offices in Dubai, Mumbai and Pune, Fabogo connects salon and spa owners with their target market segment. The startup, which has 3,50,000 monthly users, expects to make Rs 7 crore revenue in 2017-18.
Glam-tech startup Mazkara was launched in March 2015 by Prasanjeet Roy and Mohammad Ali Akmal. The beauty and wellness aggregator began operations in Dubai in May 2015 and entered the Indian market in August 2015. But in 2016, the startup, which had aggregated a 40 percent male user base, decided to go in for a rebranding exercise. It tied up with branding agency Firebrands and emerged as Fabogo.
A year later, Fabogo has offices in Dubai, Mumbai and Pune, has scaled to a team of 90 people and extended to platforms like Web, Android and iOS. The pure-play startup has clearly grown by leaps and bounds.
Rewind to Dubai 2015
Prasanjeet and Mohammad met through a common friend who owned a chain of restaurants in Dubai. Ali was building an online booking and table reservation engine while Prasanjeet was helping his friend optimise functionality.
Ali, a BSc (Hons) graduate in Computing from Staffordshire University and a Zend Certified Php5 developer, is from Lahore and has worked in Dubai for 25 years. Prasanjeet, an MBA from Symbiosis International University, Pune, is a serial entrepreneur with five years of experience in strategising and leading sales efforts across UAE and Indian markets.
How the Fabogo model works
Fabogo focuses on hyper-local salon and spa discovery. Based out of Dubai, it is the flagship product of parent Mazkara Internet, and helps users discover a salon or spa, book appointments and even pay online. Users can avail special offers on venues, look up salon rate cards and read reviews before visiting. The mobile application is available for Android and iOS users, аnd it also has a dashboard for salons and spas through which they can update listings аnd respond to the users' reviews, view page analytics, manage bookings, etc.
With their feet-on-street model for data collection, Fabogo is now the richest and the most comprehensive database for the industry. The startup aims to be the world's leading online engagement platform for the beauty and wellness sector.
“We are honest believers of the ‘feet-on-street’ model for content collection. We had assembled a field team that went out collecting information about relevant venues and that’s how we located potential business,” Prasanjeet says.
He adds that they started sales efforts once they reached 1,00,000 monthly users. Today Fabogo claims to have 3,50,000 monthly users on their website.
Looking forward to a beautiful future
The startup raised $2.25 million (Rs 14.5 crore) from Dubai-based micro PE fund Dunamis Ventures. The company had earlier secured angel funding of $500,000 in May 2015 and $1 million in January 2016 as angel investment from PE investors.
Fabogo plans to use 40 percent of its funding to strengthen technology and another 40 percent to increase its user base. The remaining amount will be used for geographical expansion.
According to Prasanjeet, the company acquires most users through organic social channels. They run contests, shoutouts and more as part of regular marketing activities. UAE accounts for a large chunk of their revenue, while the India market is gradually gaining large user base and getting them to transact on the Fabogo app.
But Prasanjeet, the CEO аnd Co-founder of Fabogo, emphasises that geographical expansion is currently not on the chart.
“We’ve made a conscious effort to maintain a lean team and scale business. We will use most of our funds to establish ourselves as market leaders in existing cities. We have plans to launch in Bangalore, but not at the moment. We want to devote enough time to market research before establishing anything,” Prasanjeet says.
According to IBEF, the market size of India’s beauty, cosmetic and grooming market will reach $20 billion by 2025 from the current $6.5 billion on the back of rise in disposable income of the middle class and growing aspirations of people to live a good life and look good. Other players operating in the same space as Fabogo include UrbanClap, AtHomeDiva, Myglamm and Getlook.
“We generate revenue through commissions from the transactions between consumers and vendors. Our month-on-month revenue growth is 12-15 percent. In 2016-2017, we had a revenue of Rs 2.25 crore and for 2017-2018 the number is expected to reach Rs 7 crore. We plan to be profitable with the current setup before the year ends,” Prasanjeet says.