- Kuwait-based startup Bookr has raised $1 million in a Seed funding round led by Desert Ventures.
Founded in 2018 by Zaina Al Bader, the beauty-focused startup positions itself as a mediator between clients and beauty salons, barbers and spas as well as freelancing makeup artists and hairdressers through its app.
The app is operational in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and launched its online beauty products store in 2020. It claims to have processed more than 300,000 bookings worth over $15 million since 2018.
With the new investment, Bookr plans to expand to Saudi Arabia and other markets in the Middle East including Egypt.
Kuwait-based startup Bookr has raised $1 million in a Seed funding round led by Desert Ventures.
Bookr enables users to find and book nearby beauty salons, barbers and spas, as well as freelancers like makeup artists and other home beauty service providers. The platform also provides an all-in-one SaaS solution to beauty service providers by facilitating the management of their clients’ appointments, inventory and financial data.
“Bookr is best positioned for the post-pandemic shift in consumer behaviour and expectations in an industry where digital adoption and spending is poised for strong double-digit growth on an annual basis over the next five years. Salon owners, more than ever, continue to seek ways to enhance efficiency in an effort to increase the bottom line and offer clients the convenience and safety of online bookings,” said Talal Al-Ajeel from Desert Ventures Venture Capital, adding: “Zaina and the team at Bookr are laser-focused on capitalising on the trend and delivering on their mission of providing a circular ecosystem that is deemed to satisfy.”
The Bookr app lists all items and services in both Arabic and English to accommodate all users, and it is available for Android and iOS smartphones. Since July 2018, the startup has soft-launched in three GCC countries, processing over 300,000 bookings worth over $15 million. In 2020, it launched its online beauty store. Since then, it has developed organically on a monthly basis with no marketing budget.
Bookr targets the fast-growing global beauty market. The salon industry in Mena is growing at a CAGR of 9.4 per cent, twice as fast as the rest of the world. Despite this, technology infrastructure in the region remains fragmented and ripe for disruption.
The company will use the funds raised to scale up its marketing, enhance customer experience and increase its geographic reach, with a focus to expand into further GCC countries in the immediate future.
“Our exciting fundraise gives us the dry powder needed to scale operations in the GCC and expand our footprint, with the mission of capturing market share and launching new value drivers,” said Zaina Al Bader, the founder and CEO of Bookr. “Our cloud-based software brings a much-needed solution for many beauty SMEs in the region, and facilitates transparency to their customers in booking availability and pricing.”
The GCC governments recently announced rules regulating the number of people in a salon at the same time. The Bookr platform allows salons to easily limit the number of people per their establishment’s square meterage. It also allows salons that previously relied on walk-ins to start attracting more customers who can pre-book and help fill up vacancies.