Kuyam is an online marketplace dedicated to empowering busy women, working moms, and their families to discover and schedule appointments with local lifestyle businesses. By “lifestyle,” they mean things like salons and spas, companies offering tutoring and educational assistance for kids, health and fitness businesses, and more. Simply put, what OpenTable does for restaurants and ZocDoc does for doctors, Kuyam wants to do for the entire “lifestyle” genre.
The concept is also similar in some ways to StyleSeat, the appointment and listings solution for hair stylists, but Kuyam aims for a broader reach, so users won’t have to bounce from site to site. The target demographic for the startup are the heavy appointment scheduling users, which are typically moms scheduling appointments for their entire family.
Co-founder Kourosh Gohar, who started Kuyam with Tony Rhoton and Todd Zebert, said he was inspired to start the company because of an experience he had trying to schedule a haircut. “I was running a small investment banking shop and desperately needed a trim,” he says. “With my busy schedule, it was extremely difficult to coordinate with my hairstylist as he only takes appointments during business hours. There has to be a better way!,'” thought Gohar. He says his wife didn’t initially get the idea – until two weeks later, when she realized she actually needed the service.
Kuyam offers the service free of charge to users, and businesses receive a free business profile and listing, but are charged a small fee for each appointment booked through the website. The company has been in private beta until recently, so it doesn’t yet have significant traction. However, Gohar says Kuyam has a couple of thousands users registered for its public beta. “To build up the user base and keep a lid on user acquisitions costs, we have been working in building and developing relationships with local and national mom bloggers, ” says Gohar, “as well as major non-profit organizations and organizational groups.”
To that end, Kuyam first launched at BlogHer ’12 in NYC, and in the months prior to its launch, it used social media to promote various non-profits, including the Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County, the American Diabetes Association Los Angeles, the Make a Wish Foundation in Los Angeles County, and most recently the Westside Food Bank.
The company is currently bootstrapping, and looking for seed funding.