New York-based Glamsquad, an on-demand beauty business now headed by Gilt Groupe co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson who joined earlier this year as co-founder and CEO, has now raised $7 million in Series A funding in a round led by SoftBank Capital. The company launched in January of this year in New York, and is now one of several services that bring professional hair stylists and makeup artists to wherever the customer is – at home, at work, at your hotel, or elsewhere.
Glamsquad competes with startups like Madison Reed, TheStylisted, Priv and more, and less directly with online beauty services such as StyleSeat or Beautified.
It exists in the so-called “Uber for X” category which involves on-demand services that you can order spontaneously at the push of a button on your on mobile phone. Arguably, this is a better model for meeting consumer demand when it comes to services that involve transportation, like Uber or Lyft, as advanced technology on the backend can more efficiently route drivers to where clients are located.
However, it’s still early days in proving that a similar model can profit at scale for more “luxurious” services like professional hair styling – especially because you’re not necessarily receiving an instant result as you are when ordering a taxi or black car – you’re still “appointment setting,” but now the business comes to you.
The advantage, of course, is that the business no longer has to deal with the overhead of running a brick-and-mortar storefront – in Glamsquad’s case, a salon.
Others participating in the new round include Lerer Ventures, AOL’s BBG Ventures fund (disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch) and Montage Ventures. Glamsquad had previously raised $2 million in seed funding, according to Crunchbase.
The additional capital comes at a time when the company, currently operating in New York and L.A., is expanding nationwide with plans to launch in other cities in the near future, starting with Miami. The launch there is being timed with the Art Basel event in December, the company notes.
To date, Glamsquad has completed over 10,000 services and events, and is now working to grow its core team and add more beauty services to its menu. The company’s pricing is actually pretty competitive, given what styling at the salon costs, with hair services that range from $50, and makeup applications at $75.
Glamsquad is now serving thousands of customers per month in its New York market and has seen 100% quarter-over-quarter growth in appointment bookings since its debut, the company tells TechCrunch.
SoftBank’s Marissa Campise speaks to Glamsquad’s potential to grow beyond affordable, on-demand services in the long-term, however, when speaking of the firm’s investment. “…the team has a clear strategic vision on how to use their platform to continue to make their clients’ lives easier by offering them great products, lifestyle content and new verticals,” she says in a statement.
Image credits, Glamsquad; salon photo: Kelly Stuart, photographer; photo of Micaela English, Web Editor at Town & Country