Dubai-based Shedul.com, a free booking platform for salons and spas, closed this week a $6 million round of Series A funding. The funds will be used to scale the company’s operations and expand its product development.
The round was led by Dubai-based Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and backed by Dubai’s BECO Capital and San Francisco-based Lumia Capital. The new round of funding follows an earlier seed round also led by MEVP.
Launched in 2015, the platform (pronounced like the British schedule) streamlines SME business operations with intuitive, free-to-use software. It manages booking appointments, point-of-sale, customer records, human resources, inventory, and financial reporting for beauty salons.
In less than two years, Shedul.com signed up a vast user base of over 40,000 merchants in more than 120 countries, most of whom learned about the platform by word of mouth, as mentioned in a statement released by the startup.
Over half of Shedul.com users are in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Millions of bookings are made through the platform each month, growing at an average rate of 35 percent month-on-month.
The platform is well on track to process over $1 billion worth of appointment bookings by the end of 2017.
Cofounder and CEO William Zeqiri said: “Good free software spreads quickly. “We’re solving a critical pain point for small businesses by redefining how they engage with customers through technology.”
Shedul’s cofounders said that software offerings for salons and spas are often expensive to purchase and difficult to use. As a result, the majority of businesses operate without any software at all. “52 percent of salons in the United States still manage their bookings with pen and paper [...] We have merchants who have over 80 percent of their bookings made online by customers,” Nick Miller, the company’s COO, explained.
“The convenience factor increases customer engagement and directly results in more revenue to the merchant,” said Walid Mansour, managing partner at MEVP, who is upbeat about the company’s potential. “Shedul.com is a truly global success story and a testament to Dubai’s emergence as a center for innovation and technology,” he added.