Wellington-based startup Speak Scents launches PledgeMe campaign to disrupt the outdated fragrance industry

Wellington-based startup Speak Scents launches PledgeMe campaign to disrupt the outdated fragrance industry


Its mission is to offer consumers a new way to experience scent

Monday 28th November, Wellington, New Zealand: Inspired to challenge the norms of an incredibly outdated category and make it easier for everyday people to experience fine fragrance, Speak is on a mission to help consumers discover their perfect scent match. 

With the brand already gaining popularity, customers now have the opportunity to pre-order ahead of launch at pre-sale prices, or purchase limited edition merchandise designed especially for the campaign, on PledgeMe. With the funds raised, Speak will launch a Beta platform and range to the New Zealand market in December.

With a range of accessible, gender-neutral fragrances, the high quality products are formulated and bottled in New Zealand and made in the perfume capital of the world, Grasse, France. Speak offers a premium product at an accessible price point via subscription, delivering straight to your door.

Confusion, overwhelm and not knowing where to start are common descriptions of the typical fragrance shopping experience. When coupled with an increasing appreciation for curation and convenience among tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z audiences, Speak has taken the opportunity for disruption and noticed there were very few fragrance brands globally speaking to how today’s consumer wants to engage with beauty products.

Speak has also developed a proprietary matching algorithm to sort through the confusing jargon and masses of data and match customers to their fragrance products. Using a seed database of 70,000 existing fragrances with over 300 variables, Speak’s MVP platform leverages 800,000 possible answers combinations.

Co-founder and Head of Data, Dr. Ankit Patel says: “Perfume is essentially ‘big data’. The thousands of different scent notes that go into perfume making make it a perfect fit for modelling techniques and predictive analytics to be applied, to simplify a huge amount of information so customers can understand what they’re buying”.

For fragrance lovers and news entrants alike, Speak makes the process of finding a scent enjoyable, stress-free and convenient, using their technology to simplify the purchase process. And with fun, playful branding centering around self-expression, they’re challenging the norms of an outdated category with their gender-neutral range.

The time is certainly right for this proud female-founded Kiwi startup. Speak is riding the wave of an unprecedented surge in fragrance sales globally, with fragrance outpacing all other prestige beauty categories registering a 49% sales bump in the third quarter of 2022*.

*The NPD Group

About the founders

Madeleine Patel has over 10 years experience at some of New Zealand’s most well known advertising and marketing agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Dot loves data and Clemenger BBDO. With a passion for perfumery and the changing nature of personalisation and technology, her childhood dream of building a disruptive fragrance brand came to life when she met co-founder Dr. Ankiti Patel in 2016.

Dr. Ankit Patel has a PhD. in applied statistics and works as a consulting Data Scientist and statistician. Having published over 30 papers using similar matching methodologies across the sporting, health, finance and technology domains, his research has been a driving factor in bringing Speak to life. He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at Victoria University.


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