London-based hairdresser booking app Rock Pamper Scissors has picked up £1.2 million in backing from U.S.-based 500 Startups and European pre-seed and seed investor Seedcamp, alongside various angel investors. The latter includes Tom Singh (the founder of New Look, and Just Eat’s former CMO Mat Braddy who is also a co-founder of Rock Pamper Scissors.
To that end, Rock Pamper Scissors’ mobile app comes straight out of the marketplace playbook by letting you browse and book local hairdressers with the emphasis on individual stylists rather than the salons themselves.
It does this by integrating with salon software to provide customers with real-time availability for each stylist, and of course the ability to make a booking. You are also able to browse the portfolios of each stylist to help make the best choice of whom to book.
“The whole business was started in order to solve a puzzle: why is it in a world where you book almost everything online that no one has cracked the hairdressing market?” Rock Pamper Scissors co-founder Mat Braddy tells me.
“Previous attempts have focused on salon search engines. But it’s not hard to find a salon – just walk down any street. What people really want is to find the right stylist for their type of hairstyle.”
To solve this problem, the Rock Pamper Scissors app displays ratings for each individual stylist who are also tagged with their skills. The stylists themselves can upload photos of their work, which, Braddy says, is designed to reduce the “trust issues” associated with letting a stranger cut and style your hair.
Asked about the type of customer the Rock Pamper Scissors app is targeting, he says they fall broadly into two groups. The first he calls “Uber’s children” — presumably with a straight face — who, he says, have been trained by smartphone apps to expect quality services delivered instantly i.e. the whole on-demand thing.
The second group is people looking for their next look. “They can browse our tagged photo stream for inspiration, pin pics into a portfolio, and then see the live availability for the stylist that created that look,” explains Braddy.
Meanwhile, I’m told the new investment will be used by the startup to grow its stylist and client usage in London, having tested the model in the U.K. cities of Leeds and Manchester in 2015. The capital will also enable Rock Pamper Scissors to expand its tech team and further develop the app and service.