New Start Up Helps Businesses Like Fitness Studios, Schools, Doctors and Tour Operators Quickly Set Up Business Management, Scheduling, Payments and Marketing Systems via Mobile. Front Desk, a new startup delivering mobile-focused software tools for personal services businesses and franchises, today announced it has raised $3.2 million in seed financing. The financing was led by Second Avenue Partners with participation from Venture One Ventures, Expedia founder and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, Zillow co-founder Lloyd Frink, and Delafield Hambrecht Inc. Chairman J.D. Delafield.
Front Desk is designed for businesses and franchises that provide personal services to people -- everything from yoga studios, CrossFit gyms, personal trainers, doctors, and massage therapists to dog walkers, landscapers, tour guides, dance schools, music instructors and more. The company estimates these types of personal services businesses account for more than $350 billion in services each year in the U.S. alone.
With Front Desk, business owners get a complete and affordable solution to help them better manage their entire business, including scheduling and attendance management, billing and secure payment processing, digital document management, payroll tracking, and email marketing. The company, which debuted in beta in March, was developed on mobile first to satisfy the on-the-go nature of this market. Several hundred businesses are currently using Front Desk across four continents and interactions through its platform via mobile devices -- by both businesses and their clients -- has already topped more than 70 percent.
"Personal services businesses can't thrive if they are tethered to computers, and Front Desk allows owners and operators to manage their entire operation from the palm of their hand," said Jon Zimmerman, co-founder and CEO of Front Desk, who is also a partner in a CrossFit gym. "The personal services economy has been significantly underserved and, until Front Desk, there has never been a single solution that meets the operating, budget, and inherently mobile requirements of these types of businesses and franchises. We're delighted our investors see the sizable opportunity that we do in helping this vast and growing market."
"Front Desk has nailed it by building its platform on mobile because that's what these business owners and their customers want and need," said Nick Hanauer, partner of Second Avenue Partners. "The global market opportunity here is massive and will only grow, and we're excited to get in with the Front Desk team on the ground floor to help enable personal services businesses around the globe grow and thrive."'
The company expects to use the seed capital to expand product development and marketing, streamline operations, and increase its reach to serve personal services businesses worldwide.
Front Desk is affordable for any size business with monthly fees starting at just $45 per month and no set-up fees or contracts. Available in six languages and supporting every currency, Front Desk is fully optimized for mobile and accessible to businesses and their clients via any Web-enabled mobile device or desktop. In addition, Front Desk enables businesses to easily create a branded iOS app to ease interactions with their clients, and also includes a sleek check-in Kiosk utilizing an iPad app to expedite and monitor client attendance.
As part of Front Desk's suite of services, it also seamlessly integrates third-party services like secure payment processing via card.io and PayPal, customizable e-mail marketing via MailChimp and Emma, and digital document management via DocuSign, which in a matter of months has achieved greater growth from Front Desk than any other third-party distributor.
About Front Desk
Front Desk™ is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that provides cloud-based client management tools to the personal services economy. The technology is optimized to work on smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers to enable personal service businesses, which are inherently mobile, the ability to run their businesses from anywhere, at any time. This includes fitness and yoga studios, dance and music schools, physical therapists, acupuncturists, adventure guides, tutors, teachers, and other businesses and franchises. Using Front Desk, business owners can easily manage client relationships, automate billing, securely process credit cards, schedule classes and appointments, track attendance, automate email marketing, and create a customized and branded client-facing experience. The company debuted in spring 2013 and has already improved the efficiency and profitability of hundreds of personal services businesses. Front Desk is headquartered in Seattle.