As far as pandemic-proof businesses go, a startup for barbershops isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind — unless you raised millions just days before barbershops were shut down across the country.
Dave Salvant and Songe LaRon, co-founders of New York-based Squire, a back-end barbershop management tool for independent businesses they launched in 2016, raised a $34 million Series B led by CRV in early March (after raising $8 million in a Series A round led by Trinity Ventures in 2018). Days later, “everything went to zero,” LaRon recalls of their customer base: all barbershops closed.
The cash quickly went from an opportunistic raise to needed capital. Squire waived all subscription fees, created a site for information called www.helpbarbershops.com and launched a way for patrons to buy online gift cards for their favorite shops. One barbershop sold more than $30,000 in just a few days.
After weathering a hard few months, Squire is now enjoying high demand from barbershops preparing to reopen. The company provides cashless payment, a way to make appointments and is experimenting with a virtual waiting room, all features that barbershops post-pandemic are considering. It is currently live in 45 cities.