Founded in 2014 by Edwin Wang and John Cheng, Signature Market sells health snacks directly to consumers via a proprietary platform that allows them to reach a wider audience and gather useful data for the purpose of localising their distribution strategies.
Consequently, all this also affords Signature Market the flexibility to bypass costlier distribution channels and allow them to reduce consumer costs without compromise to product quality and freshness.
“Nutritious options have typically been priced out of the reach of many Malaysian consumers and thus limiting their accessibility,” said Rachel Lau, Managing Partner of RHL Ventures.
“We decided to back Edwin, John and their team as they’re using technology to create a new and innovative way for people to access healthy snacks; helping Malaysians eat more nutritiously and lead healthier lifestyle.”
This round follows on their previous funding endeavour where they managed to raise RM1.5 million in seed funding through PitchIN and will allow them to better serve the Malaysian market, their immediate goal being to cater to all 14 states within the country and build their 120,000-strong customer base to 300,000 by the end of 2019.
Beyond that, the team behind Signature Market also aims to explore the possibility of entering other nearby markets such as Singapore and Thailand.
You’ve Got To Move Fast
Talking to us about their potential for scaling, co-founder Edwin explained that it was Signature Market’s ability to constantly cater to the evolving demands of consumers within the healthy snack market that helped set them apart and draw interest from their investors.
“Trends in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) are always evolving—consumers are always demanding for more with ever-changing preferences and tastes,” he said. “With consumers these days demanding more healthy options, we started with a proof-of-concept and quickly grew to where we are today with minimal investment.”
“Other CPG incumbents in the market don’t move or invest enough to cater to this growing market, and we look to be the ones championing the health snack trend in Malaysia, and potentially Southeast Asia.”
In terms of growth, Signature Market have gone from RM1 million in revenue in 2016 to RM13.5 million in revenue in 2018, with their team expanding from five to 50 in the same time frame.
More Opportunity Than You Know
Speaking to the state of the health food market in Malaysia, Edwin revealed that he and his team faced a constant battle to change perceptions of consumers and investors that their industry was anything but a niche market.
“The biggest challenge is to educate both consumers and investors that the CPG market is not a niche market and has been growing 28.5% year-on-year,” he elaborated. “The two main pain points for the Natural and Organic segment have been affordability and accessibility, which we are working to address.”
This also coincides with a rising trend of healthy snacking worldwide. Last year, Nielsen documented a steady increase in the global demand for healthy snacks, and in Malaysia, this should also be the case due to the alarming jump in diseases resulting from unhealthy eating habits.
“Consumers today want a healthier lifestyle but do not want to relinquish their comfort food”, said Edwin. “We’re excited to be working with RHL Ventures as they are sharing their regional network expertise with us to help us scale regionally.”
“However, our focus for now is in Malaysia as we see vast opportunities in the local FMCG sector that we can take advantage of.”
Feature Image Credit: Signature Market