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Bookwell raises $1.25 million from Catch founders

Catch Group founders Gaby and Hezi Leibovich have invested $1.25 million into Bookwell, a salon-booking platform started nine months ago by Matt Dyer and Nathan Airey, the entrepreneurs behind food delivery app, EatNow.

Launching out of beta in September 2017, Bookwell provides beauty and wellness professionals with free calendar-management software and a stronger online presence, while allowing consumers to book appointments for a variety of services, including hair, nails, tanning, waxing and massage, online.

The business generates revenue by charging a fee for bookings made through its platform and says earnings have skyrocketed, growing at more than 450 per cent in the past year.

While the co-founders are not sharing customer usage data at this time, the platform is used by more than 1,000 venues and has a presence in every capital city in Australia, except Darwin and Hobart.

There is a need for the Bookwell booking platform

The investment from the Leibovich brothers comes just months after Bookwell’s initial $2.6 million seed funding round, led by Adam Schwab and Jeremy Same of Luxury Escapes, and shortly after the business bought out its key competitor, German-based, Vaniday Australia.

Dyer said the funding confirms the need for a convenient booking system in Australia’s multi-billion dollar beauty and wellness space.

“It validates our perception that there is a need for the Bookwell booking platform in the Australian market, and we are all really enthusiastic about Bookwell’s future,” he said in a statement.

“The funds will go towards hiring new staff for Bookwell’s product development and sales teams, developing new product features for business partners and increasing consumer choices on the site.”

Native apps for Android and iOS are in Bookwell’s future, according to Dyer. And while the business is currently “completely focused” on helping salons bring customers into their physical stores, it could potentially move into mobile treatments on-demand too.

“We decided not to focus on it at this stage because we see the overall market as being much bigger. But we could potentially go there in future,” he told Internet Retailing.

Following a positive experience investing in Dyer and Airey’s previous startup, EatNow, Hezi Leibovich said he is confident that Bookwell is destined for success and has every faith in its founders. Menulog acquired EatNow in 2015, and the combined business was sold for $855 million to British food delivery business, JustEat.

“Matt was able to grow EatNow from a mere concept to a successful business in five short years … We invested in that venture and it paid off, and we can see the same thing happening now,” Leibovich said.

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