Booker Closes $27.5 Million Round, Seeks to Be the ‘Amazon of Services’
Booker, a service management platform for SMBs, has gotten a big financial boost. The company has announced that it raised $27.5 million in a Series B round led by Bain Capital, which it will use to continue building out its small business scheduling and marketing offerings.
According to the company’s CEO, Josh McCarter, the round was initiated and then closed fairly quickly: “We raised a Series A round in 2011 and we had always planned to raise another in 2013. Bain had reached out to us early, and we followed up. They really dug in quickly, and we went from initial meetings to term sheet and closed deal in under seven weeks.” The round that also includes participation from previous investors Revolution Ventures, Grotech Ventures, TDF, and Vital Financial.
McCarter said the round was more than what the company had initially planned on raising, but that the capital would provide cushion for additional expansion in the future and potential M&A activity down the road: “Nothing that we’re in discussions for now,” he said, “but it made sense to take additional capital.” The company plans to use the money for investments in the sales, marketing, technology, and product teams, and expanding into new verticals. He declined to say whether the company has any plans to expand internationally.
It’s been a busy two-plus years for Booker, which was originally the SpaBooker division of SpaFinder, and the later spun out in to a company named GramercyOne. The company saw its head count swell from 50 to over 200, and has plans for an additional 20 or so hires in the near future, and has shown triple-digit revenue growth for four years in a row. McCarter believes that Booker’s proprietary technology is ready for the next big step.
“When you get into the service space, there are a lot of complexities,” he said. “A service economy is about relationships, about the bond between service providers and their customers over time, and really capturing those customers online or through mobile devices. To do that, you have to have a platform that the business is running itself on.”
McCarter said that Bain liked Booker as an investment because “we unified a lot of these point solutions onto one platform and it’s all proprietary.” He said the investment company specifically highlighted the attractiveness of Booker’s two-pronged approach. Essentially, Booker seeks to help businesses run themselves online as well as book appointments. It’s a one-stop marketing shop for businesses that book clients.
“Our model has two distinguishing features: We can serve multiple markets, so we’re not just a vertical solution. We also have the ability to scale from SMB-level clients all the way up to enterprise clients like Hilton, who uses us on the global basis,” said McCarter. “In a similar way to what Amazon did for products — not only providing the consumer front end but the tools for businesses to integrate and market their products online — we’re doing that for services.”
Deepak Sindwani, partner at Bain Capital Ventures and the newest member of the Booker board of directors, said in a statement that the firm has been closely tracking the adoption of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) by SMBs: “Service businesses are the backbone of our economy, and Booker’s platform revolutionizes the way that these businesses operate on a daily basis by providing tools that directly grow revenues, increase productivity, better manage data, and lower costs. … Booker’s impressive growth trajectory, team, and multi-vertical strategy were key drivers for our investment.”
Noah Davis is a senior editor at Street Fight.