Shedul, an online booking platform for salons and spas, has raised $5 million in funding. The round is led by Berlin’s Target Global, with participation from New York based FJ Labs. A number of individuals also invested personally, including Niklas Östberg (founder and CEO of Delivery Hero), and Hakan Koç (co-founder and co-CEO of Auto1 Group).
Launched in 2015, Shedul’s first product is a free SaaS designed to help salons and spas manage their day-to-day sales and operations. The platform’s features span managing appointment bookings, point-of-sale, customer records, inventory, and financial reporting. A second, more recent offering is the Fresha.com marketplace, and it here where the London-headquartered company generates revenue by charging merchants a small percentage fee on top of bookings.
“We’ve built the world’s best platform for beauty and wellness industry and given it to all businesses globally 100 percent subscription free,” says founder and CEO William Zeqiri. “Good free software has spread virally with users in the industry enabling us to acquire new merchants very fast”.
This has seen Shedul acquire salon and spa operator customers in more than 120 countries, primarily in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada. Around 6 million appointments are booked each month, growing at an average rate of 20 percent month-on-month, while the platform is on track to process $3.5 billion worth of appointment bookings by the end of 2018.
“Leveraging our existing pool of global merchants allowed us to bootstrap the consumer marketplace with a lot of liquidity,” explains Zeqiri. “This created additional value proposition for both merchants and marketplace customers. With our Free SaaS-enabled marketplace business model we are leveraging the critical mass of merchants and marketplace users to scale the platform exponentially”.
Currently in the initial rollout phase, Zeqiri says Fresha.com provides mobile apps for customers and real-time booking integrations through Instagram, Facebook and Google, along with in-app payment processing. It also incorporates intelligent features to help merchants grow revenues. This includes displaying price and availability options based on a customer’s purchase history and the merchant’s projected occupancy.
“With our two-sided Marketplace platform, we’re automating many processes of running a business in the beauty industry with powerful online booking features, marketing tools and access to our consumer marketplace to attract new clients,” adds the Shedul CEO. “This frees up merchants to do what they do best and spend more face time with customers.
“We have salons where 80 percent of their bookings are now made though our online marketplace Fresha.com. Our technology helps businesses optimize their schedule with real-time online availability; in some cases it has increased merchant revenues more than 30 percent”.
Shedul counts its main competitors in the U.S. as MindBody, Vagaro, and StyleSeat. In Europe, the startup competes most directly with marketplace TreatWell.
Meanwhile, Shedul says the new capital will be used for product development and to support the continued rollout of the new marketplace offering. It brings the total amount raised by the company to over $11 million to date and should see it through to an upcoming Series B round.