Digitizing your haircut may not be on your 2020 bucket list, but 2021 has an even more surprising line item: The tech-powered barbershop is now a nearly billion-dollar business proposition.
Square is a back-end barbershop management tool for independent businesses. I first covered it in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup raised millions of dollars before shutting down one of its major customers — barber shops — nationwide. The company eventually went from defense to offense in its growth strategy, finding itself as a key partner for any barbershop that needs to begin offering contactless payments, digital appointment booking and a more seamless customer experience. What was used to do everything online for a generation.
This week, Squared tripled its valuation thanks to a round led by Tiger-Global. After being worth about $75 million when we first spoke to them, the company is now worth $750 million.
When I spoke to co-founder Dave Salvant, who launched the company with Songay Laron in 2016, he explained how the company is now in a place to expand into other barbershop-specific value propositions — either through acquisitions or acquisitions. through partnership. This week, for example, Square announced that it launched a payment processing arm with Bond, a venture-backed fintech infrastructure company. The company also partnered with Gusto to bring HR services to its customers. Salwant said how technology advancements, particularly financial services, have allowed them to offer a robust product without the need to build everything in-house.
While these are partnerships for now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Square start scooping up companies that can unlock value from their existing dataset of how barbershops work and what kind Capital comes in and out through those doors.
It’s worth watching for a company that fits the pandemic story, then proven startups looking to expand with new capitalization. What is less common, however, is that the square is now on its way to becoming a historical and unfortunately still rare black-headed unicorn. The more data points, the better.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll discuss Robinhood’s public debut and why a CEO thinks everyone should be like him for a day. you can find me on twitter @nmasc_.
Robinhood sells Robinhood
The long-awaited Robinhood IPO is no longer the long-awaited one. Shares of the consumer investment and trading app fell sharply between 8% and 10%, after pricing at the low end of its range.
Here’s what to know: IPO expert and fellow Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm gives us two reasons why Robinhood stock is declining. After all, we’re used to popping into the world of a consumer-facing tech company.
Robinhood made a large part of its IPO available to its users. Or, in practice, Robinhood curtailed initial retail demand by offering its investors and traders shares at the same price and level of access that it offered to large investors. This is a neat idea. But by doing so, Robinhood would have reduced the unserved retail interest in its shares, perhaps reshaping its initial supply/demand curve.
Or maybe the company’s warnings that its trading volumes could drop in Q2 2021 scared some bulls.
You have to be the CEO, you have to be the CEO!
Now that free beer is no longer beneficial to the company, the next best option may emerge: let someone in your company be the CEO for a day. Vincit CEO Ville Houteau implemented the program at his company in 2018, saying the initiative has paid off “ten times”.
Here’s how it works, according to the company:
The program gives our employee the reins for 24 hours with an unlimited budget. the only requirement? The CEO must make a sustainable decision that will help to improve the work experience of Vincit employees. Whatever the CEO of the day decides, the company stays with him. They can buy something for the company, change policy, update the tools we use… Really, whatever they come up with can be done.
You can see the resulting policies in our story, but in my humble opinion, the end result is definitely better than the free beer.
- The ClearTips Disrupt Agenda just went live. This is a compulsorily read line and must be attended. Some Standouts:
- Pot, Pottery and Beyond with Seth Rogen (houseplant), Hanneen Davis (houseplant) and Michael Mohr (houseplant)
- Breaking the Bank with Brian Armstrong (Coinbase)
- Speaking SPAC with Chamath Palihapitiya (Social Capital)
- Fanatic Design with Melanie Perkins (Canva)
- shout out Amanda Silberling, A recent addition to the ClearTips team that is completely ditching their consumer tech. Follow him on twitter If you haven’t already!
seen on techcrunch
Spotted on Extra Crunch