The beauty and wellbeing industry is worth $4 trillion and is underpinned by tens of thousands of businesses and millions of professionals. Fresha, a company that provides a software stack to help them run their operations, is announcing new funding of over 50 million dollars.
Fresha is best known for its booking software, which is free on a subscription-free basis, but it also charges for first-time bookings and marketing messages if a customer chooses those options. William Zeqiri said in an interview that his company's ambitions are to be the go-to destination for any digital tool that a salon or independent professional might need to run a business.
Hairdressers and other beauty professionals are not trained in business management. Our goal is to automate all aspects of their business.
General Atlantic, Partech, Target Global and FMZ Venture also participated in the round, which was co-led by Michael Lahyani and BECO Capital. Fresha raised $182 million.
Fresha raised the first $100 million in June of this year, and now has a valuation of $640 million thanks to the Series C extension. Zeqiri confirmed that the company increased in the extension due to its own growth.
The Pandemic took hold across the world and had a mixed bag of luck. People were spending a lot more on products to treat themselves at home because they were going out less. The Covid-19 led to a lot of salon closings in order to curb the spread of the virus, and in some cases the customers who did show up were subject to more restrictive protocols.
That presented an obvious challenge to a company like Fresha, built around the idea of providing appointment booking and payments for in-person, very physical businesses. Fresha was able to identify the opportunity inherent in that challenge because of its focus on providing tools specifically tailored to and mastering the needs of a specific service-industry vertical.
Fresha has booking and point-of-sale payment software that is used in 120 countries with its biggest markets being the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Fresha has built a "Shopify" for beauty and wellbeing websites to sell goods and services, which will be launched in the coming days. It is in the process of finishing up its website design.
He said that they want to build the Amazon of the beauty and wellbeing industry, with a full suite of services that compete at every level. He said that will include marketing, and marketing automation tools. It will face a lot of competitors, from Square to Booksy, Phorest, Treatwell, SalonIQ and many others.
Nick Miller, the company's other co-founder and chief product officer, said that there has been an interesting shift in the business models around beauty and wellbeing.
The pressures of the Pandemic forced a lot of businesses to downsize, and sometimes shut down altogether.
There was a move to models where pros were not directly employed by spas, but rather hired out space within them to serve their own client lists; or some variation on that theme.
There are a lot of new use cases and customers that need to be signed on to a platform like Fresha's.
He said that it was one of the Covid effects. The idea of using multiple services for different aspects of running their businesses, and jumping to different platforms, was appealed to Fresha by users because they were not tech-interested in the main. Miller said it was great timing.
A lot of small and independent businesses have been closed because of the Pandemic. Fresha has had multiple offers from customers to buy them up, but that is not the core of how the startup sees itself growing, Zeqiri said.
According to a statement, Fresha has positioned itself as a major player in the beauty and wellbeing industry with a large and loyal customer base. Fresha has a balanced strategy of providing one of the best products in the market at no cost to the salon and then driving monetization via payments and value-added services.