Urban Massage, The On-Demand Massage Service, Picks Up Further Backing At $12M Valuation

Urban Massage, the U.K. startup that offers an Uber-style massage booking service similar to U.S.-based Zeel, has picked up a new round of funding. The backing — amount undisclosed — is being led by Firestartr.

Existing investor Passion Capital also participated alongside new investors Samos, LCIF, and a number of unnamed angel investors. Noteworthy is that the London-based startup says the new funding gives Urban Massage a post-money valuation of $12 million.

Urban Massage’s website and apps for iOS and Android aims to let you book a same-day (or even same-hour) massage in as little 30 seconds. It offers various types of massage, to take place either at home or at work. 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.

To make a booking, you simply enter your postcode and select a treatment — this filters therapists based on their qualifications — and how long you want the treatment for and whether you want one therapist or two. The app then displays a list of available times, after calculating how long it will take the available therapists to get to your location. The backend also takes into account other bookings throughout the day and ensures there’s enough time for the therapist to get to the next appointment.

“Like other on-demand apps, customers want instant gratification and pain relief is major,” Urban Massage co-founder and CEO Jack Tang told me last October. “Whether they are feeling under the weather, wake up with pain in their back, injure themselves etc., they need instant remedies and so, same hour/day massage is becoming more of an expected commodity. As you know, Zeel, Unwind.me, Pine, and Soothe in the U.S. are cropping up to do just the same thing.”

On the topic of U.S. competitor Soothe, the L.A.-based startup is rumoured to be eyeing up London for potential expansion, which would put it squarely up against Urban Massage. There’s also Rocket Internet’s Vaniday, an online marketplace for beauty and wellness professionals that offers massages as well as things like haircuts, make-up, waxing, and yoga classes. The service originally launched in Brazil but recently expanded to Europe, including the U.K.

Hence Tang’s decision not to disclose today’s new funding round. “We collectively decided to keep the funding amount undisclosed as it will give our game away somewhat,” he tells me. “Rocket and newcomers are coming into the space and we want to keep things under the radar. We will be raising another round in about 12 months and already chatting to various later-stage funds.”

Staying under the radar may be the plan, but Tang does reveal that Urban Massage is planning a multi-city national roll-out, taking the service well beyond London. It’s also due to release a new product to compete with a number of SaaS players.

Meanwhile, I’m told revenue has doubled in the last few quarters, and that the startup is now processing over $160,000 worth of bookings per month. That’s up from $40,000 in October 2014 when we last covered the company.