LONDON, United Kingdom — On-demand wellness app Urban (formally Urban Massage) has accelerated its bid to become a holistic wellness platform with the acquisition of beauty services app MissBeez.
The deal, for which the value has not been disclosed, will enable the brand to expand its at-home beauty offering. Lash, hair and makeup treatments are now available via its platform as part of an expanding beauty category, which already includes facials and nails.
The news follows the recent close of a $10M Series B funding round, led by Accelerated Digital Ventures, with participation from two of its previous backers, Passion Capital and Felix Capital. Since then Urban has also expanded its offering to include on-demand physiotherapy.
Speaking at the Welltodo Founder Series earlier this month, co-founder Jack Tang explained:
“To truly realise our philosophy of enabling people to live happier and healthier lives — acknowledging the fact that wellness can be really different for everyone — we wanted to provide the same seamless experience across three major categories – physical wellbeing, body confidence and fitness.”
He added: “Our customers wanted more from Urban, so that’s really driven our roadmap.”
Launched in 2014 with a mission to empower people through wellness, by offering fair rates, leading-edge technology and an active, supportive community, Urban has built a network of more than 2,500 wellness professionals offering at-home massage, physiotherapy, osteopathy and beauty treatments. The platform, which has enabled the delivery of 300,000+ treatments has generated an economic value of more than £25M.
“When I fell into the wellness market one thing that was really noticeable for me was that around 70 percent of wellness practitioners were typically self-employed,” Tang told the Welltodo audience.
Recognising that these entrepreneurs were commonly using brick and mortar salons as a route to market, often leading to economic inequalities that exist in the supply chain, he started to think about how he could use technology to solve that pain-point. On the consumer side, the business also has a goal to improve the booking efficiency and experience for individuals searching for wellness treatments.
Initially offering massage treatments exclusively, when customers starting asking for additional wellness services, Tang says that Urban was able to reach out to its existing practitioners to utilise their related expertise and treatment skills. In 2018, the brand changed its name from Urban Massage to Urban, to reflect its new diversified offering.
Now, the startup which currently operates in several UK cities, as well as Paris, has ambitions to become Europe’s leading holistic wellness platform.
With customer spend on beauty treatments already making up almost 10% of Urban’s total business just nine months since launching, the strategy is already paying off.
According to Urban, the always-on culture of city life is built on a flawed philosophy; the idea that to become your best self – in work, relationships, health and fitness – you need to work harder. The reality, it says, is that when you stop and put your wellness first, you do better in all areas of life.
With grooming rituals a huge part of this philosophy — whether that be brows, waxing, male grooming or other treatments — the brand hopes that by planting itself within the beauty space to become the provider of ‘on-demand confidence’, it has a significant opportunity to scale.