Irish company Phorest, the fastest growing online booking system for beauty salons in the UK and Ireland, has completed a funding round of €1.3 million to accelerate the expansion of the operation.
The funding has been secured from three co-investors, namely The AIB Seed Capital Fund (co-managed by Enterprise Equity), Enterprise Ireland and Bloom Equity (a business fund consisting of experienced technology entrepreneurs).
Bootstrapped for several years by founder Ronan Perceval, in the past 12 months Phorest’s software processed over €250 million 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 over €10 billion within the next decade and with over 750 salons in the UK and Ireland now using its booking software, Phorest is positioned to become the market leader in Europe.
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 Zanadoo.me, 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.
Ronan Perceval, CEO of Phorest, said: “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. The beauty salon industry is undergoing a fundamental shift as people go from booking appointments over the phone to over the internet. There were 200 million appointments made in UK salons last year and we expect the majority of these to move online in the next decade.”
Pat Garvey, representative of the Bloom Equity syndicate for this investment, said: “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.”
Tom Shinkwin, a Partner in Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, said: “Phorest is a great example of a young, indigenous and innovative business that has proven in a short period of time that it can sell and leverage its product from purely local into overseas markets. We identified Ronan Perceval as someone capable of scaling the business with new overseas clients.”
Enterprise Equity Venture Capital jointly manages the AIB Seed Capital Fund of €53 million. This fund was established in 2007 and invests amounts of up to €1.5 million in high growth start-up and early stage companies in Ireland. It is focused on investing in the technology, multimedia, wireless and medical device sectors. The Fund’s limited partners are AIB Bank and Enterprise Ireland.