GramercyOne now Booker, Sharpens Strategy and Unveils Deals Service
Adopting the name of its chief product, New York’s GramercyOne became Booker Software on Tuesday, and in 2013 plans to take its automated deal-making service out of a pilot phase and make it available to more businesses.
Companies such as hair salons, spas, fitness centers, chiropractors, and photographers use the two-year-old startup’s cloud-based platform to fill up their appointments and manage other aspects of their businesses. Essentially Booker tries to do for service-type businesses what HotelTonight.com does for hotels or Priceline.com does with unsold airline tickets.
Booker CEO Josh McCarter says his company’s strategy is evolving beyond scheduling and managing appointments. In addition to the main platform, its Deal Maker automated marketing software has been used on a limited basis, and he plans to make it more widely available in 2013. Deal Maker leverages big data gathered by Booker to help businesses create special offers to entice customers to book appointments during off-peak hours.
McCarter says the software uses data such as when appointments are typically scheduled and how much customers tend to pay in order to automatically set promotional prices for deals to lure customers in during the slow times. He believes businesses can benefit more from Deal Maker than other types of daily deals designed to attract new and repeat customers. “Daily deals were the main way business migrated their services online,” he says, “but it’s proved to be—over the past 12 months especially—an imperfect model for the merchants.”
Booker got its start in 2010 as a spin out of SpaFinder and raised nearly $15 million in 2011 in a Series A round led by Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures. McCarter says he plans to pursue a Series B round in the first half of 2013 to fund further expansion and growth.