Beauty and wellness businesses are back to life with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and a startup that has built a platform that serves the many needs of small enterprises in the industry today, has a big round to grow with. announcing funding. .
Fresha – a multi-purpose commerce tool for independent wellness and beauty businesses like hair, nail and skin salons, yoga instructors and more, first and foremost an all around completely free platform for those businesses to schedule bookings from customers has raised $100 million.
Fresha plans to use the funds to expand the list of countries where it operates, to grow the categories of companies that use its services (mental health practitioners are one example; fitness is another. To build more services that it already provides, helping customers do their jobs by providing more information and data about what they already do. It will also make acquisitions to expand its customer base.
General Atlantic is leading this Series C, with FMZ Ventures’ Huda Kattan, Michael Zeiser and Lugard Road Capital’s Jonathan Green also participating, as well as previous investors PartTech, Target Global and FJ Labs.
Fresha has raised $132 million to date, and it’s not disclosing its valuation. But as a reference, when it discontinued its Series B (as Schedul, the company rebranded in February 2020), it was valued at $105 million.
It is likely that this figure is now much higher.
Fresha’s current range of services includes a free-to-use platform for booking appointments; Free software for managing accounts; a paid service that includes both a physical point of sale and a digital interface; and a broader marketplace (B2B) for providing goods to businesses; and for businesses to sell goods to customers (B2C).
The London-based company has 50,000 business clients and 150,000 stylists and professionals in 120+ countries (mostly in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe), with almost 250 million appointments booked to date.
And while many businesses have had to reduce how they operate (and stop operating altogether in some countries) Fresha finds it is attracting a lot of new business because of its “free” model. This meant that customers did not have to pay to maintain the booking platform when they were not taking bookings, but could use Fresha to generate revenue in other ways (such as the sale of merchandise, Vouchers for future services, and more.)
So in a year when you would have thought that even a company providing services to industries hit by Covid would be hard-hit, Fresha actually saw a 30x increase in card payment transactions compared to a year ago, and more Booking appointments worth over $12 billion have been made on the platform.
In a market that’s crowded with tech companies creating platforms to book beauty (and other) services and manage the business of independent retailers — among them giants like Lightspeed POS — as well as Booksy (which was recently launched in the US). picked up) include smaller players. StyleSeat But players like Square and PayPal, and many others – the core of Fresha’s offering is a booking platform designed to be a completely free product.
why free? To attract more users to its other services (like payments, which come at a price), and because co-founders William Zekiri (CEO) and Nick Miller (head of product) — pictured above, left and right, respectively — Think this is the only way to build this kind of business in a crowded market.
“We believe that software is a commodity,” Zekiri said in an interview. “A lot of our competitors are beating each other down to the price. We wanted to strengthen the supply side of the software, gathering data about businesses and how they use them.”
That data led, first of all, to identify the need for an all-time single and launch its B2B and B2C marketplace, and the idea that it will likely lead to more products as it continues to mature. , whether in better analysis for existing customers so that they can offer better prices or to develop their services accordingly; Or completely new tools for new categories of users.
Meanwhile, the services that already provide the kind of payment have been shut down like a shot, not least because they have obliterated the need for any virtual transaction like selling vouchers or items.
Miller noted that while a lot of its customers actually interface with technology with a lot of reluctance—they’re the essence of “physical” retailers when you think about it—they’ve found themselves to be more digital due to circumstances. also found to use the services. “Given what happened, technology adoption for our customers accelerated,” Miller said. He added that current customers use to the point-of-sale system and online payment is almost at par.
Looking ahead, Fresha’s investor list is notable for its strategic mix and may shed some light on how it grows. Kattan, a “Beauty Influencer” and founder of Huda Beauty, is investing through HB Investments, a strategic venture arm; While Zeisser’s FMZ today focuses on “experience economy” investing, it has a long history of its own working in the tech companies that make up the marketplace, with Alibaba as the head of the US investment practice. These speak to the areas where Fresha is likely to be interested in expanding its reach – greater market activity; And perhaps more social media angle and exposure to their customers at a time when social media has truly become an important way for beauty and wellness businesses to market themselves.
“Fresha has emerged as a leader in powering the beauty and wellness industry,” Aaron Goldman, Global Co-Head of Financial Services and MD, General Atlantic, said in a statement. “William, Nick and the Fresha team have created a product that is resonating with the market and creating long-term value through the intersection of their payments, software and marketplace offerings. We are thrilled to partner with the company and we believe It is believed that Fresha has a significant opportunity to advance its innovative platform.
“I’ve seen the positive impact Fresha has had for beauty entrepreneurs first hand,” Kattan said. “The company is a force for good in the growing community of beauty professionals around the world, who are increasingly adopting a self-employment approach. By making top-notch professional software accessible at no subscription fee, Fresha allows professionals to focus on what they do. delivers what they do best – providing great experiences for their customers.”