Urban Massage, a UK startup that bears more than a little resemblance to U.S.-based Zeel after the latter pivoted to offer an on-demand, Uber-style, massage service, has raised an undisclosed seed round from London VC Passion Capital.
Like Zeel, Urban Massage, which currently operates in London only, lets you book various types of massage through its service, either at home or at work, at relative short notice — from as little as an hour. Each massage carries a set fee based on type and time booked, with the startup utilising a pool of vetted freelance massage professionals and taking a decent-sized cut along the way.
Interestingly and perhaps key to its revenue-generating potential, is that, as well as offering a consumer-facing web app and forthcoming apps for iOS and Android, Urban Massage provides a B2B, white-labelled service to London-area hotel/chains that don’t have their own in-house spa. It also pitches it wares to workplaces, including other startups in the London tech scene, who want to provide massages for employees.
More curiously, however, for those who are watching this space closely, I’m told Urban Massage sees massage as just the start and, along with expanding geographically, has plans to move into additional personal services, including physiotherapy and beauty treatments. If that pans out it would be the inverse of Zeel after it decided to narrow its focus to massage alone.
In terms of how Urban Massage differentiates itself from potential competitors, such as Zeel or Unwind.me (both of whom are based in the U.S. and yet to launch this side of the pond), or more traditional massage providers, it’s talking up the tech side of its offering; specifically the backend it’s building to enable the startup to most efficiently schedule jobs on-demand, reducing travel time for its massage professionals by tying into third-party APIs, such as those provided by Transport for London (TfL), coupled with its own algorithms.
Since its beta launch 5 months ago, Urban Massage says it has processed over 450 bookings, which represents more than £30k in revenue. I’m also told the startup, founded by Jack Tang and Giles Williams (previously founders of TheStudentJob.com, which was acqui-hired by DMG Media-owned Jobsite.co.uk), has moved into White Bear Yard, the co-working space of new investor Passion Capital.