Realizing the difficulties faced by wellness professionals and entrepreneurs, start-up duo Sudheer and Dheeraj Koneru had conceptualized Zenoti in 2004 to ease the whole eco-system of operational tasks in a spa and salon.
Launched in 2010, the cloud-based enterprise management software Zenoti was an initiative of Dheeraj and Sudheer Koneru, who Co-founded Latitudes Health Club and Tangerine Spas, a chain of fitness centres, spas, and salons in Hyderabad.
During their wellness venture, the duo experienced first-hand difficulty in running the venture seamlessly due to lack of reliable and easy to use software that supported the whole eco-system of operational tasks in a spa and salon.
Further, there was simply no affordable software available that supported the needs of a multi-location chain. This personal experience gave the Konerus an intimate understanding of the growing challenges of the industry and made them go back to their roots in enterprise software and introduce ZENOTI, formerly known as ManageMySpa.
In an exclusive conversation with WI Bureau, Sudheer Koneru, CEO, Zenoti unveiled the tit-bits of their venture and future plans. Have a look.
DNA of the business
Zenoti is cloud-based enterprise management software designed to completely digitize the daily task management of spas and salons. The idea behind this product is to help spa and salon managers, owners to effortlessly run their businesses and concentrate on providing an impeccable service, instead of wasting their time on administrative work.
The platform enables its users with appointment scheduling, inventory management, employee management, and customer relationship management. Zenoti provides its customers with a range of tools and enhances the managerial capabilities of the enterprise, be it a multi-location enterprise or a single outlet.
Zenoti raised US$6 million in Series A from Accel Partners in July 2015. Prior, the company was funded by the four Co-founders. Accel Partners’ Shekhar Kirani joined Zenoti’s Board of Directors and said that Accel invests in companies with strong founding teams and a product that serves high-growth markets. His statement was, “We believe that Zenoti is at a pivotal point in its growth trajectory and has all the competencies to become the leader in its space. We’re excited about the momentum the company has experienced so far and the growth of the wellness industry globally.”
With major Indian salons and spas on board including; Enrich, O2 Spas, Kaya Skin Clinic, and B:Blunt among many others, and customer base across 32+ countries, Zenoti’s Co-Founders were confident in their ability to execute quickly and scale growth.
“We have a proven product that scales for large businesses and have been able to dominate multiple markets. With Accel’s insights and investment, we’re poised for rapid growth,” shared Koneru.
The cloud-based Zenoti has raised $6 million from Accel Partners in a Series A round in July 2015. The investment allowed the start-up to accelerate sales and marketing globally.
“As a SaaS solution, our product is already designed to scale and serve a global marketplace, our challenge now is to reach a wider global audience. Also, as a part of expanding our mobile product offering, we launched Take5, a consumer app for spa and salon appointment scheduling, in September,” informed Koneru.
He further noted, “We plan to raise a Series B in early 2016 and use the funds for broader global expansion.”
Bring major change in current ecosystem
Zenoti has been instrumental in a number of spas and salons in being able to scale the number of locations they have, to expand quickly and to do so in geographically dispersed regions. Some clients have expanded across cities within India, while others are expanding beyond international borders.
“Take 5 is a consumer app that we recently launched. We expect Take5 to dramatically change the beauty and wellness landscape,” said the CEO.
According to him, “Online retail has been catching on since the late 90s and is clearly growing. In an economy like India, online retail has become so popular in the last 5 years that it is driving malls and local retail stores out of business.”
Zenoti enables wellness enterprises to open an online marketplace for retail sales. So if a customer likes a product that was used during the service, they have the option to go back and purchase it either online or at the outlet itself. This improves the relationship with the customer and keeps them coming back. Online retail also provides the enterprise a more organized way to keep track of their inventory.
Gaining competitive edge
As suggested by Koneru, “When we first launched Zenoti about 5 years ago, we ran into a few different players in the market, mostly global players. Today, we are the most widely adopted solution by spas and salons throughout the country.”
Zenoti is a SaaS solution and as such, we offer our services through a monthly subscription to our clients.
“We have three plans, which differ in monthly subscription cost and feature set. Each plan was designed to address the needs of a business based on their size and stage of business. For example, a business with 3 service providers would fall into the Start plan, which offers core capabilities like a CRM to manage customer lists, automation tools to get customers back in more often, and appointment book and billing system,” said Sudheer.
A business with 1 location and 15 service providers would fall under our Grow plan, which provides more operational support and helps boost productivity, reduce shrinkage and boost business with features like inventory management and rich marketing capabilities. The enterprise plan for very large single location businesses as well as multi-location chains, and includes our complete feature set.
“We do not lock clients into a contract, but rather they pay a monthly subscription fee. This puts the responsibility on us to ensure our clients see significant ROI, in which case we retain them as clients month over month,” added he.
Each plan includes hosting services, support and training as well as email credits.
“When we first set out in 2010, the major challenge was convincing customers of the benefits of running their business on the cloud, and the various advantages it brings. The other challenge was to help them move their different operational aspects which were in silos, and depended on individual tools, to a centralized system,” said he.
To overcome these challenges with strong service delivery, the company has a thorough on boarding process, and exceptional customer support. It is one thing to build a powerful solution, but without proper education and awareness, the adoption of the solution can fail. The duo had been able to drive increased adoption through constant communication and engagement with our customers.
Zenoti has over 5,000 customers on board across 32 countries and has 7 offices across the globe including UK, UAE, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia. In India, we have clients spread across all the tier I cities, as well as, some tier II cities across the nation.
At this time, we are not planning on changing our pricing model.
Scaling up the venture
“We are constantly improving our solutions, in fact, we do a monthly release, which incorporates client feedback and requests, as well as innovation driven by us. We are expanding Zenoti’s presence across the globe. Take5, our mobile app that connects people with quality salons and spas directly, is a natural extension of the Zenoti platform and will very quickly evolve,” shared the CEO.
Elaborating on the future of the company, Koneru concluded, “We are embarking on an exciting new journey in the consumer space. With Zenoti, we have built a trusted brand and a network of salons and spas across India. We have also gained an understanding of the key goals for beauty and wellness businesses.”
The firm has also launched Take5 mobile app in India and expecting to take it to a global audience soon.
Tips to aspiring tech start-ups
“It’s important to understand the business very well. Each industry has its own unique challenges, historical ways of looking and doing things, and as with any business, it’s important to respect the way the people in the industry work,” added Koneru.