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Booksy raises $13.2M to drive growth and develop machine learning and AI technologies to support beauty businesses globally

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Booksy raises $13.2M to drive growth and develop machine learning and AI technologies to support beauty businesses globally
  • The company is now the world’s biggest and fastest growing booking app for beauty businesses and handles over 2.5 million bookings per month from across the globe
  • Investment received from investors of AUTO1, MySQL and also ‘The Unicorn Whisperer’ Zach Coelius
  • Booksy has partnered with tech brands including Google, Facebook, Instagram & Yelp

Booksy, the world’s largest and fastest growing booking app for appointment-based beauty businesses, today announces that it has secured $13.2 million (£9.5 million) in funding.

The funding was led by Piton Capital (investors of AUTO1 and FanDuel), with participation from OpenOcean (founders of MySQL and MariaDB) and notable investors such as Sebastian Kulczyk and Zach Coelius, also known as “The Unicorn Whisperer”.

Booksy will use the funding to drive global growth, recruit high profile talent and develop proprietary technologies that will simplify its merchant’s customer experience and support its one million bookings per month. This includes the implementation of one-click booking, a feature that uses machine learning and AI technologies, to determine each user’s buying pattern and offer them the best dates with their favourite stylists.

With the global beauty industry valued at $150 billion, the American-Polish startup has successfully evolved into a game-changing mobile-first business for the global beauty industry.Booksy has raised over $8.2million to date, and following a successful Series A funding round in 2017, has launched in the US and rapidly become the number one booking app in the world, beating competitors in US, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Spain – and more. It has also undertaken partnerships with tech giants, including; Google, Yelp, Facebook and Instagram.

Booksy was co-founded by Stefan Batory and Konrad Howard. The entrepreneurs previously founded and turned iTaxi into the number one taxi-hailing app in Poland. Prior to this, Stefan Batory listed his first software company, Eo Networks on the local stock exchange.

Booksy’s success is largely due to its expert development team in Poland, with the country being ranked as one of the top three countries for developers in the world. Booksy will also be expanding the company’s already 200 strong team with a series of high profile new hires, which include; Juliana Katz (Chief Marketing Officer) and Aaron Meier (Regional Director).

How Booksy works:

Booksy allows beauty professionals and salon owners, to set up calendars, share their availability and accept bookings through a ‘mobile first’ interface. Merchants that manage their business and customer data through the product are encouraged to promote the app to customers as it increases loyalty, booking ease, engagement and even increases the frequency of customer visits.

The company offers a range of functionalities designed to assist and support their processes. These include marketing automation, managing customer relationships, inventory management, point-of-sale, reports and the management of commission for employees.

A recent NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey on Booksy ranked the company at an NPS of 70 with customers stating that it allows them to “focus on other aspects of your business” and they “always recommend it to other stylists”. One respondent stated that “Booksy lets me concentrate on the client I have in front of me while the next client can book with no interruptions” attesting to the usability and functionality of the service.

Andrin Bachmann, co-founder and partner at Piton Capital, says: “We are delighted to back Stefan and the entire team at Booksy again. They are starting to see the benefits of a strong network effect, and we believe they have an opportunity to build the leading SaaS-enabled marketplace in the beauty industry in the US and beyond.”

Zach Coelius, managing partner of Coelius Capital, stated: “Stefan is a true pro with significant successes already behind him and a deep understanding of this game. Within ten minutes of meeting him, I knew I wanted to invest.”

Booksy co-founder and CEO Stefan Batory said: “There is a clear need for Booksy’s mobile-first approach, it gets to the heart of some of the core challenges for micro-beauty businesses. It is this, alongside the business model and on-boarding process, which has helped Booksy to become the world’s leading booking app for appointment-based businesses.

Booksy’s considerable growth can be attributed to a substantial network effect and referrals from existing customers, who love the product because we negate the needless back and forth associated with the whole booking process. We’ve noticed with our continual updates and integrations into the Booksy service, our merchants have seen a significant increase in bookings. They see Booksy as their own personal secretary, allowing them to focus on own customers and streamlining their hectic schedules.”

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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