PETALING JAYA: Home-grown startup Nuren Group is leveraging on women’s hunger for knowledge and solutions on marriage, motherhood and parenting to cultivate a passionate following on its online platform.
Nuren is a women-centric community platform that hosts online portals such as Wedding.com.my, Motherhood.com.my, and ibuencer.com and focuses on female family matters, particularly from marriage to motherhood and beyond. It has offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Petrina Goh and her husband Kelvin Leow (pix), the founders of Nuren, have carved out a niche in this speciality to build customer loyalty by providing a holistic customer experience, thus boosting revenue and business growth.
Founded in September 2013, Nuren’s primary target audience is mothers, as it is an all-in-one platform where users can read updated content and information, find, and shop for family and parenting products and services.
Nuren started as a wedding marketplace. A year later, the founders realised they had to pivot by expanding into motherhood and parenting to continue engaging their users in the next stage of their lives, from getting married to starting a family.
“I experienced the lack of reliable information as I was going through the life stages of wedding and parenting. Understanding these pain points prompted me to create a solution for it,” Goh told SunBiz.
Goh’s background was in management consulting and investment banking. During the early phase of the startup, the founders enrolled in Cradle’s Coach and Grow programme that provided them access to new business connections and networks to grow the business.
“Later, I joined MDEC’s Silicon Valley (SV) Immersion Programme where we were exposed to global thought leadership, best practices, and corporate culture in the most vibrant technology and entrepreneur microcosm globally.
“Through the programme, we received mentoring sessions by renown SV coaches from Google Launchpad and visited Google and Facebook (offices), where we received insightful sharing from Asian entrepreneurs on how to make it big in SV,“ she said.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed lives and the ways businesses operate. Nuren is no exception and is prepared for the next normal. Goh said the pandemic brought unexpected growth to the company’s e-commerce platform.
“As a digital platform, we experienced higher growth in traffic and e-commerce transactions, with more parents choosing to (shop) online to buy baby and family products. We emphasise a lot on ‘customer first’. Most of the major changes of our company and products are to create a better consumer experience and how we can become more customer-centric.
“We have either cancelled or postponed most of our offline events. This prompted an opportunity for us to pivot our event business. For example, we took our antenatal classes and ParentCraft workshops online. Besides, we have launched a learning management system for new parents to transition into parenthood by learning from our team of panel experts,“ Goh said.
She said Malaysia is a strategic country for entrepreneurs due to its matured ecosystem for startups. However, the domestic market is small and lacks talent compared with other Southeast Asian countries.
Goh said some major challenges digital entrepreneurs here have to deal with include access to funding, the ability to scale, and intense rivalry with foreign companies.
“It is easy for foreigners to set up businesses here, (local) entrepreneurs have to (compete with foreign companies). It is evident that none of the leading marketplaces or unicorns in Malaysia is home-grown.”
She hopes to see more support, endorsements, and recognitions available for local entrepreneurs’ projects.
“There should be more collaborations or partnerships between conglomerates and startups to support innovation and growth. Local tech startups should be granted more benefits and incentives than foreign-funded tech companies, so local entrepreneurs have a competitive advantage in the local market,” she said.
The company aims to expand its regional footprints, make baby products more accessible to mothers, and help local emerging brands to expand overseas.
“We empower our team (of 70 people) through supporting several corporate social responsibility programmes such as Orphan Care and Pertiwi and organised field trips for homeless children, support and empower single mothers, and volunteered to distribute welfare and food to the homeless,” she said.