The entire world is moving on-demand, so it’s not a surprise that professional services like massage will soon join the trend. Thus, just as people are ordering groceries, cleaners, and laundry delivery from their smart phones, Soothe offers same-day massage appointments with therapists who come to them.
As a massage startup, Soothe offers customers convenience at a price that is comparable to most in-spa massages. By using the mobile app or the website, Soothe sends the nearest professional with the highest rating.
Healthcare that soothes
There are different types of massage that clients can choose from, as well as different types of massage therapists. For instance, Swedish or deep tissue massages are available, as well as couples massages. An hour-long massage costs $99, a 90-minute massage costs $139, and a two-hour massage costs $169. When users book with Soothe, their therapists bring their own equipment to their home and perform the massage onsite, so they don’t have to leave.
soothe.com connects massage therapists with new clients they would not have come across otherwise, just as most other on-demand services do. In addition, it takes a smaller cut of the transaction than traditional salons, giving its massage pros a healthier margin than they would otherwise have.
I call it “Uber for massage” – and indeed I do! Founder Merlin Kauffman disagrees, however. According to him, Uber provides a commoditized logistical service, while Soothe’s business relies on the quality of the massage it provides.
What is the quality of soothe?
All Soothe massage therapists are checked for certifications and credentials, and a few lucky people get to vet them based on their quality. In addition, it maintains liaisons in every market in which it operates for the purpose of finding new providers.
As of today, the company has more than 1,000 massage therapists in six cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Austin, Phoenix, and Miami. However, it will soon expand into cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.
Founded in May 2013, Smoothe was self-funded for about 13 months, with revenue growing about 20 percent month-over-month. In September, the company began fundraising and its seed round was led by Gil Penchina’s AngelList syndicate.
The company raised $1.7 million in total from IDG Ventures and Walter Loewenstern, as well as angel investors Scott & Cyan Bannister, Tasty Labs founder Joshua Schachter, Dogvacay’s Aaron Hirschhorn, Xobni’s Jeff Bonforte, and HomeDepot’s Aaron Lee. In addition to Eytan Elbaz, founder of Scopely, the company has representatives in China.
On-demand massages are not unique to Soothe. Similar companies like Zeel and Unwind Me are attempting to do the same. For Soothe, however, moving into complementary professional services offers an even bigger opportunity. The logistics platform will be able to serve many other categories once Kauffman has built out the platform around massages.