Online Booking Platform BookingBug Raises Further $1M, Plans To Open Up Protocol To Developers

The UK startup BookingBug, which provides an online booking and reservation platform for businesses — SMEs right up to larger enterprise outfits — has raised a further $1 million in funding. The round comes from newly-established fund, Deep Ventures, and is the only funding taken by BookingBug since it raised a rather modest seed round of $350,000 back in 2011. That’s the great thing about a startup that produces revenue from the get-go: BookingBug offers an array of tariffs for businesses taking bookings through its wares, which increase in price based largely on number of bookings made per-month.

BookingBug launched all the way back in 2009 as a way for, then mostly SMEs, to share and charge for their availability -– by hour, day, week or as classes, courses or events –- providing a platform to accept those bookings and handle inquiries online. We described it as being “realtime” (a very popular buzz word back then) and distributed, in that the London-based startup offered a widget that could be embedded on a business’ own customer-facing site or those of its affiliate partners and even through social media. It also added a basic API for further third-party site integration.

However, BookingBug has since expanded its customer base to also target the enterprise, where there’s a lot more money to be made and keeps BookingBug less reliant on SMEs who are increasingly being offered an array of niche/vertical platforms (think dedicated wares for dentist practices or hairdressers etc.). Related to this, and with today’s new funding, it plans to completely tear down the current API and widget building capability to open up its protocol to select developers and become a platform in the true sense of the word.

Or, in PR gobbledygook, BookingBug wants to become “the go-to protocol for anyone wishing to connect the online and offline worlds.”

In a call with TechCrunch, BookingBug CEO Glenn Shoosmith likened the approach to that of e-commerce platform Magento, in that the startup plans to make its platform fully customisable and embeddable into existing systems used by the enterprises, big retailers and government organisations that it’s now selling into. In fact, Shoosmith says he was inspired by the UK government’s “open” e-gov agenda, and that demand for a more expansive platform also came from those larger customers.