SpaFinder, Inc., and its majority shareholder, Jubilee Investments, have a strong track record in nurturing and bringing to market — and spinning off and attracting external investment capital for — high-potential wellness-focused companies…well before Welltech Funding formally launched.
Here are a few of our success stories…
GramercyOne, LLC (www.gramercyone.com)
In 2007, SpaFinder, Inc., had a vision: create an online platform that allowed people to book spa appointments anytime, anywhere — and one that could also transition spa businesses from the archaic backend software they were currently using, to far smarter software-as-a-service (SaaS) business management and marketing tools. So, in 2008, the company launched a new division, SpaBooker, at its headquarters in Manhattan — with just a few employees.
Over the next couple years, SpaFinder provided the funding and support to refine and grow this cloud-based software product/platform, ultimately providing spa businesses with every tool they needed to compete in the modern marketplace, including real-time mobile and online booking, digital marketing and integrated social media, CRM, hosted point-of-sale, mobile payment processing and inventory management. By 2011 SpaBooker had established itself as the spa industry’s SaaS provider of choice and was used by over 2,000 businesses in 30-plus countries.
In 2010, convinced that e-commerce would rapidly evolve from the sale of products to the sale of services — and as demand for the SpaBooker solution grew in numerous verticals beyond the spa industry — SpaBooker was spun out into a new, standalone company, GramercyOne, with a new CEO, Josh McCarter. The new company had a greatly expanded vision of connecting consumers to any service-related business via cloud-based applications, and created a suite of “Booker” brands customized for verticals like fitness centers, salons, integrated health and medical practices, hotels/hospitality and numerous “activity-based” businesses. Adoption of the platform continued to ramp up (from multi-national enterprises like Hilton Worldwide to single location yoga centers), and, by 2011, the Booker Platform was processing 700,000 transactions a month, averaging $1 million in value per day.
In late 2011, CEO McCarter secured $14.5 million in Series A investment led by Revolution Ventures, chaired by AOL co-founder Steve Case, with its proven track record of investing in promising, early-stage consumer and technology companies. The remainder of the funding was provided by Grotech Ventures, TDF and Jubilee.
The company was created as a division of SpaFinder, Inc., to serve the spa industry — spun out as a standalone business to serve every breed of service. It now has significant VC funding and over 60 employees dedicated to its unique vision.
By 2010, online group-buying sites like Groupon were established, and the “daily deal” market had exploded to $2 billion-plus. While deals on spa and wellness had become a mainstay of these big, generic sites, their spa/wellness deals were typically thrown in between specials on car maintenance, and their “flash-mob” model resulted in scenarios like a small nail salon selling a thousand massages…leading to horror stories for the customers who bought, and the businesses that attempted to deliver.
SpaFinder realized the need for a specialized, higher-quality, 100-percent spa- and wellness-focused online group-buying channel that would give more discriminating and affluent spa/wellness devotees deals at higher-end spas and resorts they actually wanted to visit — and would actually appeal to more exclusive businesses (whether a boutique day spa or five-star resort) because the model would protect their brand, target much more valuable consumers and allow them to exert far more control over their deal parameters. (And launching a spa/wellness-focused-“deals” vertical was a natural fit for SpaFinder, given its existing relationships with over 12,000 day and hotel/resort spas, fitness clubs and yoga and Pilates studios — and its vast audience of millions of dedicated spa- and wellness-obsessed consumers.
So, in October 2010, the company launched SpaRahRah! in the single market of New York City, offering members handpicked, high-quality local spa/wellness deals. The company has since then scaled rapidly, launching in Miami and Los Angeles in February 2011 and in Dallas and San Francisco in April 2011. In March 2011, SpaRahRah! Travel, the only social commerce product 100-percent devoted to global, high-end spa and wellness travel, was unveiled. In January 2012, Clean Beauty, SpaRahRah!’s product-focused deal division, featuring top-end spa and beauty brands that employ sustainably harvested, natural and organic ingredients, made its debut.
Hatched as a SpaFinder pilot project, SpaRahRah! has quickly become its own brand (with its own online channel/URL), and with a fast-growing team. It’s now the acknowledged leader in the spa- and wellness-focused online-group-buying vertical.
FITiST is an entirely new kind of gym and gym membership, offering a multi-tiered, innovative approach to fitness. Members can purchase a monthly workout plan curated by the FITiST board of experts based on specific goals or create their own plans. For a higher level of customization and personalization, members can also work with the FITiST concierge to develop a personalized, expert plan. Experts include renowned industry leaders including Celebrity Trainers like Andrea Orbeck and Ramona Braganza and Nutrition Expert Oz Garcia. LA studio partners include Barry’s Bootcamp, BRICK Crossfit and Pop Physique; NYC studio partners include Flywheel, AEROSPACE NYC and As One. Please visit www.FITiST.com for more information.
Wizpert is the first platform that instantly connects advice seekers with experts for a real-time conversation. Users can talk to a “wizpert” about any topic, from nutrition and exercise to cooking, parenting and more.
The platform allows highly rated experts to monetize their advice by joining the Wizpert community and placing a customized button on their blogs. There are also hundreds of wizperts available for free. Wizpert was founded in 2011 in New York City and is backed by leading start-up accelerator ERA and Welltech Funding.