Matt Danna and Sean Stavropoulos, founders of the salon booking service Boulevard, said they believe they can make beauty more profitable.
Their startup raised $11 million in Series A funding, the company announced Nov. 4, and the two engineers are looking to grow their software company in an increasingly competitive field where more customers are booking online or through mobile apps.
The West Hollywood-based company wants to automate many of the services that were once handled by front-desk salon workers. Boulevard’s booking and scheduling application also provides the ability for inventory management, commissions, payroll and payments.
“The older systems in the market were built for other purposes and were being shoehorned into the salon and spa market,” Danna said. “They didn’t take into account the nuances and complexities of how these businesses operate.”
Salons often charge different prices depending on the stylists, the process, the client and how long it takes.
“We like to say that we optimize the front desk and back office,” he added. “You have to spend less time on the phone, and they can greet people and upsell for retail.”
Boulevard allows for digital payments and even sorts through clients’ social media accounts and past appointments to create a better profile. The service also pinpoints past-due clients and those who are overdue for an appointment.
Frustrated that they couldn’t book hair appointments online, Danna and Stavropoulos left their executive positions at the social content firm Fullscreen Inc. in 2015 to start Boulevard. They realized there was a market for it after going from salons door-to-door asking about the software being used to book appointments.
The founders think their 3-year-old company serves a niche.
Competition is fierce, but other companies are focused on creating booking systems for individual stylists.
San Francisco-based StyleSeat Inc. offers similar booking services for stylists. It has raised $41.5 million since 2012 and counts Los Angeles among its largest markets. Illinois-based Booksy Inc., another cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence technology to determine buying patterns and favorite stylists, has raised $48.9 million, according to Pitchbook Data Inc.
But the salon industry is large. The industry generated $64 billion last year, according to Texas-based Professional Consultants and Resources.
Danna and Stavropoulos say many salon owners are still operating on older scheduling systems, and they hope to capture them with promises of better profits, and a streamlined schedule and inventory system.
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