StyleSeat, a scheduling platform for hair stylists and other beauty professionals, is launching its “To You” feature in San Francisco today. To You is the product I told StyleSeat founder, and close friend, Melody McCloskey that I wanted her to build for me — a way to book same-day or later stylist appointments to wherever.
Busy people have some serious issues getting to a salon, and sometimes, like before a wedding or an awards show, trying to wrangle salon visits becomes a waste of time. Quite a few times I’ve wished I could book a manicure or massage or hair appointment straight to my home or the TechCrunch office. Not because I’m super rich or fancy, but because I’ve got a conference to be at in two hours and have a jungle of split ends or gross chipped nails.
In its first iteration of the product, which you can use by selecting “To You” in StyleSeat search, the startup has signed 15 participating stylists in San Francisco, and it eventually plans on expanding To You to Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. While StyleSeat To You will initially offer on-location hair and makeup, McCloskey says that it will eventually include manicures, massages and straight-razor shaves for men.
The company, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt, had its To You beta trial at the Crunchies where it offered services to key presenters and attendees. (Disclosure: As a Crunchies beta-tester, I received complimentary hair and makeup.) TechCrunch readers in SF who’d like to try out To You can use the code “StyleCrunch” at checkout to get a 20% discount on their at-home or at-hotel or at-wherever appointments.
McCloskey tells me that users have clamored for the To You product, and that StyleSeat currently has a $4.5 million run-rate on the on location appointments that the company powers, even before the formal launch of To You. “Thousands of these appointments are booked per month,” McCloskey informs me, “and that [run rate] represents stylist appointment fees (not even including tip).”
The startup will take a 10 percent cut of on-location appointments, which appeal to professionals, travel photographers and companies, such as Uber and Threadflip, for example. Sharing the space with Pencil Me In, the company currently has more than 80,000 stylist and salon profiles on the platform. It plans to launch its mobile-friendly site and a consumer mobile application soon.
In order to further explore its product and distribution plans, the company just closed a $4 million priced series seed round led by Chris Sacca, Aileen Lee‘s Cowboy VC and existing investors in addition to a celeb-filled earlier round. It also just clocked in at No. 5 on Fast Company’s “Top Ten Most Innovative Companies” list, in the style category.
“Look at the audience of any Demo Day and you’ll notice startup investors don’t spend much money on haircuts and beauty. And, let’s face it, we aren’t usually the best suited to gauge the breadth and influence of markets fueled by women and African-Americans,” Sacca notes on why he doubled down. “Add to that a young female founder/CEO, and you have the perfect recipe for underestimation. Yet, one peek at the actual numbers Melody’s business is putting up, and the bookings run rate for both salon and ‘To You’ services, and StyleSeat is a no-brainer investment.”
It helps that the well coiffed McCloskey is passionate about the product and a good guinea pig for its To You wares and beyond. “We’re focused on bringing an entire industry online and providing new ways for our professionals to price and deliver their services,” she says about the launch. “This is one of many ways we do that — [but] it’s also a really fun way to get beauty services done!”
Aileen Lee is founder of Cowboy Ventures, a digital seed-stage focused fund founded in 2012. She is also a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which she joined in 1999. Aileen has been the lead or supporting partner working with KPCB-backed companies such as Bloom Energy, Blue Nile (NASDAQ: Nile), Callaway Digital Arts, Friendster (acquired by MOL Global), Good Technology (acquired by MOT), One Kings Lane, Plum District, Rent the Runway, ShopKick, Tellme (Acquired by...
An accomplished venture investor, private equity principal, company advisor, and entrepreneur, Chris manages a portfolio of over fifty consumer web, mobile, and wireless technology start- ups as well as an array of mature enterprises through his holding company, Lowercase Capital. While primarily known for its investments in seed and early stage technology companies, Lowercase has quietly become one of the largest momentum investment funds in the country. Previously, Chris served as Head of Special Initiatives at Google Inc. In that...