Beauty salon deals site secures €1.3m funding

19 Aug 2011

Dublin-based Phorest, the fastest-growing online booking system for beauty salons in the UK and Ireland, has secured a €1.3m funding injection. The company processes up to €250m in appointments each year.

Phorest secured the investment from three co-investors, including the AIB Seed Capital Fund (co-managed by Enterprise Equity), Enterprise Ireland and Bloom Equity (a fund consisting of experienced technology entrepreneurs).

Bootstrapped for several years by founder Ronan Perceval, in the past 12 months Phorest’s software processed more than €250m worth of bookings, daily deals (from Groupon and Living Social) and loyalty transactions in salons across the UK and Ireland.

The online beauty appointments market is projected to be worth more than €10bn within the next decade and with more than 750 salons in the UK and Ireland now using its booking software, Phorest is positioned to become the market leader in Europe.

Beauty is in the eye of the investor

As well as accelerating sales of its appointment software in the UK and Europe, the significant investment will allow Phorest to grow its consumer booking website, which allows customers to book treatments across the entire range of client salons. The investment will also lead to the creation of 20 jobs in Ireland over the next three years.

“With the continued growth of Groupon and Living Social, it’s more important than ever that salons have access to software which maximises their revenue and makes running their daily business as easy as possible,” Ronan Perceval, CEO of Phorest, explained.

“The beauty salon industry is undergoing a fundamental shift as people go from booking appointments over the phone to over the internet. There were 200m appointments made in UK salons last year and we expect the majority of these to move online in the next decade.”

Bloom Equity is a syndicate of experienced entrepreneurs with successful track records of building businesses in the technology sector. Bloom Equity invests in companies where smart capital, relevant technology expertise and business development know-how can make a difference. The Bloom syndicate works in close co-operation with the Halo Business Angel Network.

“Our total investment of €500,000 in Phorest is the largest one we have made and is a reflection of our confidence in this company’s success to date, its award-winning technology, its management and staff led by CEO Ronan Perceval and the exciting opportunities for online booking in this sector,” said Pat Garvey, representative of the Bloom Equity syndicate for this investment.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years