Health and beauty marketplace StyleSeat bags $10.2M

Faith Merino · January 22, 2014 · Short URL:

The startup welcomes new investor Lightspeed Ventures

I was pretty devastated a couple of months ago when I found out my hairstylist had left the salon she worked at with no forwarding information. No one could tell me where she went. I was crushed. I’ve since moved on and started a relationship with a new hairstylist, but I frequently think of my original stylist, Lita. She got my layers perfect each time…

Every stylist is different, so going to another stylist at the same salon certainly doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get the same quality haircut. To find the right person for the job, you can ask around among your friends (I’ve had iffy results with this), or you can browse StyleSeat, a marketplace for beauty and wellness services.

StyleSeat announced Wednesday that it has raised $10.2 million in a Series A round led by Lightspeed Ventures, with help from existing investor Lowercase Capital. This round brings StyleSeat’s total raised to $14 million.

Founded in 2011, the site offers a unique marketplace for finding everything from hairstylists and massage therapists to personal trainers. Health and beauty professionals can sign up and list their services for free, and users can book online directly through the site.

The site features more than 200,000 professionals and is used by more than two million clients in more than 15,000 cities across the U.S. And professionals who use the site are seeing results, growing their revenues by an average of 68% in their first 15 months.

“To date, most consumers have heard about us via word-of-mouth, from their stylist or a friend,” said CEO Melody McCloskey, via email. “Despite the fact that we've done very little marketing to consumers, more than 5.5 million beauty appointments were booked through our platform in 2013. We plan to ramp up our marketing to consumers this year.”

Interestingly, more than two-thirds (68%) of StyleSeat bookings are made via mobile device. So last month, the company launched a mobile app and has since seen mobile bookings increase 16%.

Marketplaces for health and beauty services are on the rise as they meet a critical pain point for many people: finding a good, quality hairstylist/massage therapist/makeup artist, etc. Wello launched back in 2012 as an online marketplace for video conferenced one-on-one and group workouts. And just last October, SweatGuru—a marketplace for exercise classes—won Vator Splash’s People’s Choice Award.

So it makes sense that StyleSeat has taken off the way it has. Since inception, clients have booked more than $350 million in services through the platform.

McCloskey says the company plans to use the new capital to double its team from 18 employees to approximately 35.

“From a product development standpoint, we will be focusing a lot of our resources on creating new experiences for clients to discover and book appointments,” she said.


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