First Data, a very large purveyor of payment terminals, is putting its money into Booker, an appointment booking platform for the mani-pedi economy.
Booker just raised $35 million to expand its reach deeper into the service economy. Booker largely works with salons, massage parlors, and other service-providing businesses.
In addition to providing a platform for booking appointments, Booker has partnerships with AOL, Yelp, and MapQuest to get businesses visible in more places. The company also has service-industry specific point-of-sale software that can be installed on just about any hardware (including mobile phones and tablets) — and that’s likely the product that First Data has its eye on.
First Data is in fierce competition with a variety of payment startups like Square, PayPal, and Poynt, which all offer services to small, medium, and even large businesses. While most payment startups are focused on retail and even components of the restaurant industry, only a few have narrowed in on businesses like salons, spas, and fitness centers.
Square launched its own appointments application last August and the company is increasingly pushing its way into providing services for back-office operations. First Data and its tablet-based point of sale, Clover, offer many of the same services, though none that specifically target the services industry. This investment may be First Data’s way of window shopping for a new acquisition.
Last year, Booker processed $2 billion in transactions. On average the company books 3 million appointments a month.
The new funding will allow the company to expand some of its marketing services and start working with services in new verticals — like educational centers and pet grooming.
Medina Capital led the round, which saw participation from Jump Capital, Signal Peak Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Revolutin Ventures, TDF Ventures, and Grotech Ventures. Including today’s funding, Booker has raised a total of $77 million.
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