Rocket Internet-backed Vaniday, an online beauty and wellness site, announced today that it is formally launching operations in Singapore. The startup, which has been in existence for about nine months, is already present in Brazil, Italy, Russia, Australia, and the UAE, and counts the city-state as its first port of call in Asia.
Vaniday raised US$17 million in a series A round earlier this year. Founder Maxime Legardez tells Tech in Asia that a part of that cash will be used to finance the Singapore expansion, but declines to reveal specific numbers.
The marketplace starts with 500 salons live, including prominents names like Kim Robinson and Action Hair.
“In terms of beauty, Singapore is a huge market for Vaniday,” asserts Maxime. “There are over 18,000 salons spread across the country and we hope to get them all on our site soon.”
However, it won’t exactly be smooth sailing for the startup. It’ll have to compete with well-funded rival Vanitee for dominance in Singapore. This should be an interesting space to follow in the months ahead.
Maxime says they’re trying to position Vaniday as a mobile-first startup, and Singapore’s high rate of smartphone penetration means it is well-positioned to take advantage of this dynamic. “Consumers are online, mobile, and eager to transact, which bodes well for us,” he adds.
Currently, users have three different channels through which to book appointments: website, mobile app, or a dedicated hotline. Appointments do need to be booked at least two hours in advance, but Maxime says they’re working to bring this down to be as instantaneous as possible.
Beauty professionals will soon impart advice to customers when needed. This will either be through online chat, or the helpline. And, in terms of categories, it’s concentrating on every aspect of beauty and wellness. These include hair appointments, nails, pedicure, manicure, massage, and spa treatment.
“We want to make the entire experience extremely convenient and fast. No more looking at Google, trying to track down the phone number, and looking at reviews before deciding. This is a very 19th century way of doing things. Life of consumers should be much more easier and convenient,” says Maxime.
Rocket’s certainly on a roll in Asia. A couple of weeks ago it announced the launch of budget hotel startup Zenrooms. It’s also said that it will bring four new startups to Asia every year – with the trend showing no signs of slowing down.
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