bookfresh-logo-sm-downloadBookFresh, a startup that helps a wide range of service providers (everyone from doctors to handymen) with the tools to schedule their appointments online, has raised $500,000 in new funding from well-known angel investor Ron Conway and other individuals.

San Mateo, Calif.-based BookFresh says it can make traditional businesses more cost-effective and efficient by eliminating most of the time spent on the phone, setting up appointments. And it’s good for consumers like me, too, since I often look up services on Google, then have to switch to the phone to make the appointment. Now the entire process moves to the web.

BookFresh competes with companies like AppointmentQuest and Appointment-Plus, but chief executive Ryan Donahue says his company takes a more “Web 2.0” approach by providing a service that’s distributed and customizable, rather than forcing businesses to set up shop at a specific website. For example, BookFresh allows companies to “white label” its scheduling service by adding their own logos and branding, and also allows developers to access additional tools through the company’s application programming interfaces (APIs). (The company could also be seen as competitive with the more specialized ZocDoc, which is focused on doctors’ appointments.)

When I covered BookFresh a year ago, it was known as HourTown, but the company recently came up with a new (and better) moniker, and also announced a partnership with free-website builder There are now tens of thousands of businesses using the service (for which BookFresh charges a subscription fee), which leaves tremendous room for growth. BookFresh previously raised $1 million from Baseline Ventures, Hatch Ventures, NBC Universal and several angel investors.