ShearShare, which calls itself the first mobile marketplace for stylists, announced it has closed $2.3 million in seed funding. ShearShare’s founders—husband-and-wife team Courtney and Tye Caldwell—say this funding will be utilized to further their mission to connect stylists to affordable suites and chairs available for temporary lease.
Operating in over 600 cities, ShearShare is one of twelve participants in the inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders program and recently received a non-dilutive cash award from Google’s $5 million Black Founders Fund earlier this month.
Established investors contributed alongside new participants to this funding round. The investors include Precursor Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Structure Capital, Backstage Capital, 500 Startups, Bread and Butter Ventures, ArlanWasHere Investments, Lightspeed Venture Partners Scouts Program, Jaylon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, Thaddeus Young of the Chicago Bulls, Bumble Fund, Notley Ventures, Sachse Family Fund, and other global financiers.
The company has, in total, raised $3.4 million in funding. In spite of the pandemic-induced recession, ShearShare has experienced a 157 percent increase in users over the past few months, according to a statement.
Tye, who is also the CEO of ShearShare, said the industry has been hit hard by the economic circumstances of 2020, but adds that 71 percent of stylists fully expect to recover within a year due to platforms like ShearShare, which helps cosmetologists and barbers accelerate economic mobility.
“Stylists are re-imagining how, when, and where they work,” Tye said. “As the second largest industry for freelancers turns its attention to a new operating normal, many beauty and barbering professionals are taking time to revisit their priorities, including how to better manage operating costs, maximize revenue, and access professional workspace on-demand.”
Courtney, who is ShearShare’s COO, affirms her husband’s confidence by noting that, out of 7,300 stylists, 76 percent plan to utilize daily booth rental post-COVID. Additionally, 63 percent of industry professionals expect to grow at least 25 percent in the next 3-5 years, according to ShearShare’s survey results.
“That’s no surprise to us, because having been in the industry for three decades, we know that beauty bounces back,” Courtney said. “Our platform finally gives the owner and the stylist an opportunity to build their small businesses on their terms while also maximizing their earnings potential.”
Tye and Courtney said they will use the latest round to fund product development, invest in marketing, and grow the now 16-person ShearShare team. According to Tye, the company is also looking to staff up its data science and marketing teams, where they’ve hired three new team members over the past month.
The couple shared that in addition to growing their technology and team, ShearShare will use funds from this round to equip industry professionals with the necessary B2B tools to function in a post-pandemic society, having already launched a microsite that provides more than 150 business tools to help industry professionals manage their small businesses.
During the stay-at-home mandates, for example, the ShearShare team helped more than 125 stylists get approved for Paycheck Protection Program funds after they had been originally denied.
Mary Grove, the managing partner at Bread and Butter Ventures, shared her reasoning behind investing in ShearShare.
“We can’t imagine a better case of founder-market fit,” Grove said. “They are transforming the beauty industry and are emerging from the COVID-19 crisis as true thought leaders in this space, working to enable independent stylists around the world to build their own entrepreneurial businesses on top of ShearShare’s scalable tech platform.”
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