Squire, a barbershop booking app, is proving barbershops are big business

Squire, a $750m barbershop booking app, is on the cusp of unicorn status and proving barbershops are big business.

Named as an homage to “Game of Thrones,” Squire began with the mission of serving barbers the same way the TV show’s squires served their knights.

So far, it’s working: The company raised $60m in July at a $750m valuation, and is on track to 3x revenue from $4m in 2020 to $12m+ this year.

But it hasn’t all been as smooth as aftershave

Launched in 2015 by co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant, Squire initially struggled to gain traction with users and barbers. The app was rejected 2x by Y Combinator before being accepted on its 3rd try.

It wasn’t until LaRon and Salvant spent ⅓ of their cash on hand to buy out the lease on a Chelsea Market barbershop that business started to pick up. The firsthand experience helped the duo understand challenges specific to barbers, including:

  • Splitting receipts across multiple barbers
  • Handling payment for chair rentals (many barbers rent chairs from shops)

Squire also came in clutch for its customers during the early days of the pandemic. Along with waiving fees, it added features to help shops reopen safely and created a virtual waiting room so customers could wait outside.

If you thought the barbershop biz…

… was just a cute little niche, think again. There are 109k barbershops in the United States, and so far, Squire counts 2.8k+ of them as customers.

Squire isn’t the only company angling for the barbershop iron throne.

Competitors include Boulevard, Booksy, and Booker (owned by Mindbody). To differentiate further, Squire has started offering debit cards and is experimenting with physical products like razor blades and ammonia bottles.

Side note: If you’ve ever wanted to bottle up your favorite barbershop scents, check out GQ’s list of the best colognes with barbershop vibes.

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