GlossGenius, a platform designed to handle bookings and payments for salons and spas, today announced that it raised $28 million in a Series C funding round led by L Catterton with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners and Imaginary Ventures.
The round values GlossGenius at $510 million — the startup’s second up-round in the past 12 months — and brings GlossGenius’ total raised to ~$70 million. Founder and CEO Danielle Cohen-Shohet says that it’ll be put toward developing additional products to support business owners in the beauty and wellness sectors, as well as “investing in core areas of the GlossGenius team.”
“As one of the fastest-growing software companies in the space now powering billions of dollars of annual transaction activity, GlossGenius has become a critical gateway for success and social mobility for business owners that have traditionally been underserved by technology,” Cohen-Shohet told TechCrunch in an email interview.
Cohen-Shohet founded New York-based GlossGenius in 2016, after experiencing the pain points of managing a makeup artistry business and engaging with clients. Prior to starting the company, she and her twin sister, Leah, ran a digital receipts point-of-sale venture that they launched in college. Those experiences served as a springboard for Danielle, who learned how to code to build GlossGenius’ MVP.
“Given the many responsibilities that business owners have, they spend countless hours on time-consuming administrative work and processes that keep them from scaling themselves and revenue,” Cohen-Shohet said. “Our product gives businesses complete control over their business, ultimately enabling them to scale themselves and build a unique brand identity and client experience in the same sophisticated way that larger companies would.”
GlossGenius, similar to software like Toast, ServiceTitan and Procore, is a vertical software embedded payments app — but one aimed exclusively at the beauty and wellness spaces. Businesses can use the platform to manage workflows across their back and front offices, including flows related to payments, booking, inventory expenses and marketing.
GlossGenius also offers a card reader, the design of which businesses can customize to match their branding.
“Historically, salon, spa and wellness business owners have had limited options — manual tracking with pen and paper or complex, general one-size-fits-all horizontal solutions or hard-to-use legacy solutions,” Cohen-Shohet said. “Many of these options have led to commoditization of small businesses, stripping any opportunity for customization, brand-identity or personality.”
Businesses that choose not to adopt booking tech, though, run the risk of losing out on new clients. According to a 2019 survey of around 1,000 salon and spa customers, only 54% book appointments during a salon’s and spa’s opening hours. Respondents to the poll also cited online booking as the most important feature when visiting a salon’s website.
Whether for fear of missing out on new business or other post-pandemic-related reasons, GlossGenius’ customer base has continued to expand pretty consistently. Cohen-Shohet claims that over 60,000 spas and beauty salons are now using GlossGenius’ platform, which is handling billions of dollars in activity annually.
It helps that, even before the COVID-19 health crisis, spa and salon owners were showing a willingness to adopt new technologies to drive revenue. A 2019 survey of close to 600 spa and salons in the U.S. found that marketing software, point-of-sales systems and cloud software were the top three areas of investment.
“Upon re-opening [after the pandemic], we witnessed increased demand for digital products that could help business owners in our space run better businesses,” she added. “Despite a broader slowdown in tech that many companies are seeing, we’ve seen our sector show resilience and continued growth.”
While GlossGenius’ growth is impressive, it’s up against formidable competition. Fresha, which also sells a beauty and wellness booking platform and marketplace, raised $100 million in 2022. That same year, appointment booking app Booksy landed $70 million. Meanwhile, booking vendor Boulevard similarly secured $70 million in a funding round that closed in late 2022.
It’s cutthroat. Data from Semrush, cited by Fast Company, shows that 76% of the appointment booking market’s online traffic goes to the top five players in the space: Vagaro, Booksy, Mindbody, Styleseat and Fresha.
GlossGenius’ challenge going forward will be continuing to stand out as the field grows increasingly crowded.
L Catterton’s Ian Friedman, unsurprisingly, has faith.
“Given our deep expertise in the beauty space and our investments in disruptive software businesses across consumer verticals, we see a compelling opportunity ahead to serve businesses here with better and more powerful tech,” he said via email. “The overwhelming enthusiasm displayed by GlossGenius’s customers is a testament to the product’s excellence and the company’s position as the go-to platform in the industry.”