For Black entrepreneurs Dave Salvant and Songe LaRon what started out as an app idea to help individuals who struggled to find a good barbershop has transformed into a platform that is changing the landscape of the barber experience. According to Tech Crunch, they raised $8 million for their app SQUIRE during their first round of venture capital financing.
Salvant and LaRon are seasoned entrepreneurs who through their own experiences discovered that the process of finding a good barber can often be inefficient. The two decided to team up and develop a solution. The app—which was founded in 2015—connects barbers and customers. Through SQUIRE, individuals can find barbershops in their area, read customer reviews, and book appointments. Customers also have the opportunity to pay for their haircuts through the app. SQUIRE goes beyond booking haircut appointments, it provides barbers throughout the country with the platform to sell products and promote their brand.
There is a wide range of shops that are included in the app’s directory, including large high-end shops and small locally owned businesses. The app was launched in New York and expanded to cities like Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It now features barbershops in 28 cities. Since its inception, there have been $100 million in transactions processed through the app. The fundraising round was led by Trinity Ventures.
“Millions of men need haircuts daily and are looking to find the right barbershop, but the process is usually unnecessarily hard and time consuming,” said Salvant in an interview with Forbes. “SQUIRE lets you locate a barber, schedule your appointment and pay from anywhere you are, now making the process quick and convenient.” The entrepreneurs plan on putting the money raised towards marketing and hiring engineers to work on the app’s infrastructure. “In talking to customers, we realized there was a lot of opportunity to build value in a backend management system,” LaRon said in a statement, according to TechCrunch.
Both LaRon and Salvant are carving out a space in an industry that is worth billions. According to Statista, the barber industry is expected to be valued at $26 billion by next year.