Barbershops and salons in the U.S. represent a $315 billion industry, counting nearly 3 million small businesses and 4 million independent aestheticians among their ranks. It's a business that has been slow to adopt modern technologies because it's both specialized and fragmented, meaning that it's a huge opportunity for the kind of niche software developers who have cropped up in the Los Angeles tech ecosystem in recent years.
True to form, two former technology executives from the LA ecosystem have launched Boulevard, to be a provider of back-office management software for the salon and spa industry.
Co-founders Matt Danna and Sean Stavropoulos first crossed paths at the Los Angeles startup Fullscreen before rejoining professionally in 2016 to begin working on Boulevard .
In the three years since they formed the company, Boulevard has grown in headcount to more than 50 full-time employees and is processing over $100 million in customer payments.
Those figures attracted the interest of investors and allowed the company to rake in $11 million in its recent Series A round from investors including Index Ventures and Bonfire Ventures . As a result of their new stake in the company, Damir Becirovic from Index Ventures and Jim Andelman of Bonfire will both take seats on the company's board of directors.
The company said it would use the money from its latest round to expand its headcount across all departments.
Through the company's software toolkit, salons and spas can handle booking and scheduling, payroll, commissions, inventory management and payments along with customer relationship management to improve the customer experience.
“Competitors in the space have been trying to shoehorn a product that was built for yoga and pilates studios into the beauty industry, but the two have completely different needs,” said Damir Becirovic of Index Ventures. “Boulevard was built specifically for personal care businesses and is a high-tech solution for a high-touch market where no one else comes close.”
Using the company's software, customers like Chris McMillan the Salon, Ken Paves Salon, MèCHE Salon, Sev Laser, Spoke & Weal and TONI&GUY have seen results like 16% increases in service booked,18% increases in retail revenue, 24% increases in tips and an 81% decrease in no-shows or late cancellations within the first six months, the company said.