Urban Massage, the London-headquartered startup that lets you book a vetted massage therapist “on-demand”, is expanding into new wellness services in addition to changing its name.
Now simply called Urban, the company, which operates in several U.K. cities along with Paris, is adding the ability to book an expert fingernail technician, GOsC-regulated osteopath, or skin therapist. It will utilise the same logistics tech and app experience that enables therapists to be booked with as little as an hour’s notice.
Founder Jack Tang tells me the move into new wellness categories forms part of a wider strategy to construct Europe’s resulting” holistic wellness” platform. This will see the company add fitness, yoga and other mental wellbeing-focused activities in the near future, including meditation.
Further ahead, Urban has plans to integrate digital therapy services, such as counselling.
Tang says that since Urban launched back in 2014, it has provided 389,000 treatments, and today ensure a 42 percentage recur rate for bookings. The company claims 101,000 active users, and 2,500 active therapists on its platform. Its wellness practitioners have collectively earned PS16. 4 million via Urban in the past four years, and, I’d suggest, in a much fairer deal than the “self-employed” words often offered to massage therapists by hotels or spas.
As a side note, I’m a user of Urban, and volume a regular massage after I injured my neck and shoulder earlier this year. Tang says this is pretty common, in that many people merely espouse massage therapy to combat ache, but afterwards discover the longer term wellness benefits, especially in terms of managing stress within a major city.
He also says that customers were asking for additional wellness category products. Notably, many of Urban’s registered massage therapists have associated expertise and therapy skills and also wanted a style to utilise them within a familiar platform.
Since TechCrunch last covered Urban, a lot has happened, including an unannounced funding round: In August 2016, Urban closed PS3. 5 million in a Series A led by Felix Capital.” We got on and focused on delivering best experiences to our clients ,” says Tang, refreshingly. With no current neck ache, I reply that this was probably the right decision.
In February, Urban acquired two competitors: Milk Beauty, on the consumer side, and B2B concentrated Freauty to bolster its corporate wellness offering. Most recently, the company created a further PS3. 5 million in an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. This insured Urban add 800 -plus new investors, the majority of whom are current clients, therapists, and staff, along with existing VC backers.
And this March, Urban launched “Urban Curates,” a collect of at-home therapies in collaboration with top beauty and wellness brands including the likes of Estee Lauder Companies, and Unilever Prestige. This, Tang explained, is viewed as a new retail channel for brands, whereby customers want to build “experience-led” buys as an alternative to the high street.