NYLP: Welcome to the New York Launch Pod. A podcast on startup businesses and openings in New York City area. I’m Hal Coopersmith. And stepping on to Launch Pod we have Dave Salvant and Songe Laron. And they are here to talk about haircuts. And they want you to get Squire fresh.
Songe: There you go.
NYLP: Welcome to the podcast, Dave and Songe.
Songe: Thank you for having us.
Dave: Thank you for having us.
NYLP: So what is Squire fresh?
Songe: [Laughs] Squire fresh is that feeling you get after you get a fresh haircut, and you get up from the barber chair, you look in the mirror and you’re like, “Wow, I look amazing. I’m ready to conquer the world.” That’s Squire fresh.”
Dave: Yeah, it is. And with Squire now, you don’t have to- after you look Squire fresh, you don’t have to go in your wallet and feel that pain of paying for something. It’s that Uber-esque experience when you just get out the car and leave and everything is done. So that’s pretty much what we’re trying to provide. That feeling carried on outside of the barbershop or carried from the barbershop.
NYLP: So you guys developed an app called Squire. And what is it?
Songe: So Squire essentially is an app that makes it as easy as humanly possible to get a haircut. So the whole process is streamlined from finding a barber to actually scheduling or booking the appointment to paying. So you can do it all from the convenience of your mobile phone. A few taps of the button and it’s done. And then you can just go in, get your haircut and then just walk right out.
Dave: In addition to that, that’s the consumer facing portion of Squire. We actually built a robust SAAS platform for barbershops to make it easy for them to monitor schedules, click commissions and anything of that sort, just from a barbershop management standpoint.
NYLP: So for the consumer, it’s an Uber for haircut. But for the barbershop it’s…
Dave: Software service.
NYLP: Software service. Manage…
Dave: Calendar, set up schedules, marketing tools, data analytics for the barbershop.
NYLP: So how are barbershops working now?
Songe: It really varies. There is a lot of different types of shops. Everything from the more I will say shops of a lower price point to the really high end shops where haircuts can cost $50, $60 easily. It varies. So some shops use pen and paper. Some shops have adopted or adapted salon technology, salon software or spa software. And since that was the only option for them, they made it work for a barbershop and kind of everything in between. A lot of barbers will manage their schedule just using their cellphones. They’ll text their customers back and forth. You text your barber and say, “You’re available at two?” “Yeah, come by.” And you get there and he has somebody in a chair already. “Oh, just wait a little bit.” So that’s kind of what you see. There’s a big spectrum of what people use in terms of technology.
Dave: By and large it’s very inefficient. Barbershops are probably the number one small business, for men, man-run small business in America. And you know for having so many barbershops, it’s really archaic. And technology has not come to barbershops and really change the landscape like it is done for other industries. And that’s what is the goal with Squire. To just change the way of doing business at barbershops.
NYLP: Are you targeting the low end and the high end? All barbershops?
Dave: All barbershops. So we have a solution for low ends and we also have a solutions for the big enterprise customers. So we want to be a one-stop shop. If you’re a barbershop, you should get Squire.
NYLP: Is it the same solution?
Songe: No, no. It’s different. What we built first was the app, the mobile app. And that’s out of the box is ready to go. A barber that manages his own… first thing, we take a step back. There’s two types of barbershops. There’s shops in which the barbers are independent. They essentially run their own business. They tend to rent the booth or the chair that they operate out of. And then there’s barbershops where the barbers are more like employees. And they have usually a commission split with the owner. And those tend to be the more high end shops where there’s a front desk person. So, first the mobile app that we built is ready to go for the independent guys. They can download the app and start running their business from their mobile phone immediately. As we were testing with them and learning from them we realized that if we wanted to build something for the more high end types of shops, the mobile app itself wouldn’t work because we would need to provide technology that will enable the front desk person to manage all of the barbers. So at that point we decided that, Okay, we’re going to have to build something else here. And we built a really, like Dave said, a really robust tool for them that’s web-based. It’s a web app that enables barbershop owners and front desk managers to manage all the barbers in the shop.
NYLP: How long did it take for you to develop everything?
Dave: I left business school. Songe quit his job as a corporate attorney. And we really started- we’ve been pondering with the idea basically in 2014. But we really went, you know, kind of like HAM so to speak in January of 2015. So we were trying to find technical talent to build our application. But we also… so we found our third co-founder in I want to say May of 2015. And we’ve been building non-stop ever since. From the technical side, our app has about 57,000 lines of code built in Objective-C. And we have about 12,000 lines of cloud code. And that’s just the mobile app. But the web app that we built for this kind of like admin barbershops has a whole bunch of code as well. So our technology I would put in front of- put to back with, against anyone in the same space as us, because our specs and what we are doing is really incredible.
NYLP: So you have a developer?
Dave: Yeah, it’s a CTO. A third co-founder.
NYLP: And what are your roles?
Songe: We handle everything but coding pretty much. So sales, business development, just overall strategy. Those are just things we work on day to day. And he built us an amazing product. But now it’s our job to actually get it out to the masses.
Dave: And sell it.
NYLP: And how are you getting barbers and customers?
Dave: Hand to hand combat. So essentially- the good thing about barbershops is the fact that the owner-operator and the decision-maker is right there. So you can actually go to the barbershop and you can speak to the decision-maker right away. And either he likes you or he doesn’t like you. But we pretty much kind of got our sales strategy down right now. And it’s a no-brainer for them. Do you want to make more money? And if they say no, I’m confused. What small business doesn’t want to make more money? So that’s how we first get the conversation started. And we have a pretty high success rate of talking to barbers and getting on the platform. At least one barber on the platform.
NYLP: Right. Who wouldn’t want to make more money? But what are you saying to them to say Squire is going to make you more money?
Dave: There’s no risk. We have no risk. Why not? And we can prove out our thesis of sending them the customers. We’re confident that we can do that. And when we do send them customers, now they’re like, “Okay, you’re sending me the customers. So I know you’re not kidding around.”
Songe: So there’s two ways that barbershops, barbers can make more money. It’s obviously new customers and then it’s retention of their old customers. So those are two areas that we think we’re really shunned in. We believe if you make something easier and a better experience, people will be more likely to do it. It’s pretty basic but it’s true. So what we’re doing is we’re making a process of getting a haircut just a lot easier and it’s a lot more pleasant experience. And for their current customers, when they use Squire it’s going to be more likely that they’ll continue going back to the barbershop and that they’ll even go back more often.
NYLP: How are you getting new customers?
Dave: There are several ways of getting new customers. We’re not breaking, reinventing the mold. Look, we’re a marketplace, right? So before anything else, you know it works. You know all referral credits work. You know network in fact works. You know promotions work. So those are some things that we’re trying right now. And to be honest some have been more effective than others but they hold true normally. So we’re just trying different things, see what sticks.
Songe: One thing that we’re doing is partnering with a lot of co-working spaces or working with a lot of different WeWork buildings or some other co-working spaces as well. And we bring the barber to the space and then members can actually book to get a haircut at work and then they just do it through Squire. So every time we do one of those events, and we’re doing quite a lot of them, there we’re getting new customers, we’re getting traction, we’re getting transactions going through our platform. And then what we’re finding also is that a lot of the times we’ll do a pop-up shop and our customer will book there and they’ll actually go on and continue doing Squire outside of the pop-up shop environment at the actual barbershop. So it’s a good customer acquisition channel. And it’s a good way to spread awareness of our brand.
Dave: And meet people, because we can obviously we do a co-working spaces and tech companies, you’re dealing with people that are in tech, people that become like evangelists for your product. They know other people in tech. They make intros for us. So it’s a good way for, one, get these engage those high early adopters, and two, meet other places and leverage their resources to further our cause, which is to provide haircuts around the world.
NYLP: So how does the app actually work?
Songe: It’s super simple. So you’ll download it. When you open the app, first thing you’re going to see is this pull up of all the barbershops that are closest to you based on your location. And you can also see the rating for each shop. Then you select the shop you’re interested in and you see all the barbers that are there. Select the barber, and then whatever services that barber provides will be listed. Select the service. And then you see the times that barber is available, and then you select the time. And if you want to pay, you can either tip beforehand or you can tip after. And that’s it. And then you just press pay and it’s done. We’ve integrated Apple Pay. So if you already have Apple Pay set up which most iPhone users do, you don’t actually even have to put in your credit card information. It’s that simple. And then it’s done. You’ll get a text message 15 minutes before the booking reminding you that it’s time for your appointment.
Dave: And then you also get like a calendar invite to add it right to your calendar so you won’t forget. This is built for the modern man that has stuff going on. We’re in the business of selling haircut, but more importantly we’re selling time. And time is invaluable. So that’s what we really want to focus on. It’s just making sure you look good and making sure you save time.
Songe: And that’s really where concept of Squire originated from, because this is a pain point that we both experience. You know like he said I was a corporate attorney working crazy hours. Years and years in finance and Wall Street. When you get to a level in your life where your time actually does become really valuable, waiting at the barbershop is just something that you just can’t accept. And there are times where I waited an hour to get a haircut before because I had to. I didn’t have a choice. I literally needed to get a haircut and had no option but to wait. So you know, when we realize that there were no solutions that were solving that for modern, busy, professional millennial who cares about how it looks but also wants to save the time. So that’s why we started working on this.
NYLP: How do I know that the barbers are good? Do you vet them?
Dave: Yeah, we do. We actually do. So the ones- there are about 5,000 barbershops in New York City.
Dave: 5,000. There’s a lot. For us right now we’re really taking in the Uber approach. Which is start with the cream of the crop so you can really control the process and control the quality of haircuts. So we’re pre-vetting every one, every barbershop on our platform. We can guarantee that these barbers are the best at what they do. So we vet them internally. We watch how they operate. We actually bring a man to perform a haircut. So we make sure they’re on par with the brand. And then over time you would have- right now we just pull Yelp reviews of the shop. But over time we’re building out an internal rating system that through the customer would rate your haircut. And it’s not going to be like a shop rating. We’re going to rate at the individual barber level. And those barbers, that aggregate of those barbers in that shop, will become a shop rating. If you take Yelp for instance, they rate at the barbershop level. And when you go to the barbershop you see a guy with an empty chair who is really excited to see you, chances are there’s a reason why he has the empty chair. He’s just not that good. So we want to make sure like, one, you get a quality haircut every time you use Squire. And two, you trust Squire to deliver. You’re trusting the barbershop barber, but more importantly, you’re trusting Squire as a brand to deliver on expectation.
NYLP: What makes a good barber?
Songe: First and foremost being able to do a good haircut. I mean that’s just the standard baseline. You have to be competent. But on top of that there’s a lot of soft skills that really make the difference. Somebody that is a good conversationalist, somebody that can listen. Listening to what the customer wants is something that’s really important. So you may be able to do a good haircut, but if you’re not listening and doing exactly what the customers wants, that customer’s not going to be satisfied. Those are some of the things. Keeping up trends, hairstyles change. What was cool this year may not be cool next year and so on. So that’s something else that’s important.
Dave: And consistency, which is big. I like to use basketball references. Somebody can go out and drop 31 game. But very seldom you find a Steph Curry who could do it consistently. So you have to find a great barber can do it day in and day out and give quality haircuts every single time. Not just when he’s feeling good, not just- if he has a flu he still has to perform. So another criteria that makes a quality barber is consistency.
NYLP: And what do you think makes a good haircut?
Songe: [Laughs] That’s subjective. That’s a tough one.
Dave: I would think a good haircut, it’s personal. Because you feel good.
Songe: Yeah, a good haircut makes you feel more confident. As men there’s not a whole lot we can do to improve how we look, if you think about it. We don’t wear make-up. Most of us, we don’t- our fashion is- we don’t have as many things to accessorize. A good haircut makes a huge difference, and a nice shave or beard trim. Those are some of the things that can really make a difference in a guy’s life.
Dave: Yeah, and females love guys with nice haircuts. They love guys- what I’ve been told, that’s the first thing they look at. They look at your shoes and they look at your haircut. And if two are off, if either one is off, it’s a pass. Because someone who takes care of their hair day in and day out, they like that. So that’s what I’ve been told.
NYLP: And how often are guys getting haircuts now?
Songe: The average is every 3.8 weeks. It varies. Younger guys tend to get their haircut more often. There are certain cultures, like the guys from different cultures will tend to get their haircuts more often than others. But on average it’s about once a month.
Dave: African Americans get their haircuts more often than Asian people. And I think like Caucasian people get their haircut like once every 3.8 weeks. That’s what the study said. It varies. It definitely does vary.
NYLP: And do you have a certain target in mind?
Songe: Everybody. This is a universal problem. When we first kind of stumbled upon the idea and we’re talking about it, we thought maybe this is just like a black barbershop thing. So we’re both African American. But as we started doing more research, talking to our friends who weren’t black and just really looking deeper into it, we realize that this is something that all guys experience. So we’ve been very purposeful in not building something or not catering to any specific group. It’s just- it’s really all men.
NYLP: Any particular age range?
Dave: My nephew is about 15 years old. And he doesn’t know what calling a taxi is. All he knows is Uber. Uber and Snapchat. And as these guys keep on coming up and these millennials, these new millennials, get older, that’s all they know. So we’re targeting anywhere from 16 to like 45. We were talking to a guy whose mom, the teenager whose mom, they don’t want to give him cash. But they can just book an appointment for them. We’re targeting the Wall Street guy who gets off at 7:30 and only has a half hour before dinner. We’re targeting the guy who has a date with his new girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. We’re casting a wide net and we really want to get guys who care about their appearance and value time. I think modern millennial men, that’s what they do. They want to look good and they want to get done, things done quickly, and they just want to carry on their day. So that’s our target demo.
NYLP: Right. It’s so annoying right now. You don’t know, even if you do have a barber, you don’t know when they are free. And if you want to find out you have to call them when they’re around. And you can’t do it…at night.
Songe: Nobody needs to call anybody nowadays.
Dave: I get annoyed calling the doctor.
Songe: Doctor’s office.
Dave: Doctor’s office. Yeah. And now I use Zocdoc. If I want to go somewhere I use Uber. If I want to get some food I use Seamless. I remember a couple of years ago when I had a big folder of menus that I used to say what I want to eat and I used to go through the menus. But now, technology changes the world. And that’s what we aim to do, is change the world. I mean maybe it may be through haircuts. But there’s not another service that men do in perpetuity mostly for the rest of their lives. The only thing they do is get haircuts.
NYLP: As long as they have hair.
Songe: As long as they have hair.
Dave: Unless Mother Nature takes its toll. But you know, then there’s a…
Songe: They can still get a shave.
Dave: Yeah, you still got to shave or get that hair transplant.
NYLP: And what I really like about it is that barbers are not going to be outsourced. They’re always going to be local.
Songe: And they’re not going to be outsourced and they’re not going to be replaced by technology. You know, like AI is really changing our society. And in the next five to ten years I think a lot of things, starting with taxi drivers are eventually going to be replaced by machine learning and AI. I think it’s safe to say that getting a haircut is probably one of the few areas in society, one of the few industries in which a computer or a machine will never be able to do it.
Dave: Not for the next 30-40 years though, at rate. But I agree with Songe. It’s one of those things that is very difficult to emulate. Because you have so many different factors. When you’re in that chair, he’s not just a barber. He becomes a therapist. He becomes a person that you talk to about your problems. About what are your aspirations? Like the first time you get in, and I’m in the shops all the time. And Songe will speak to this, is that they ask, first time interaction, “What do you do?” And the conversation starts from there. The machine can’t ask you. They can but it’s not the same. It’s not.
NYLP: And guys are very loyal to their barbers.
Songe: Some are.
Dave: Some are.
Songe: A lot of guys will optimize for convenience. And they don’t care who they go as long as the barber’s decent and it’s easy to get to and it’s convenient. But I would say probably the majority are somewhat loyal.
Dave: I will just build on Songe’s point. They’re loyal to a point where it becomes inconvenient. So for instance I was talking to this customer who said he loves his barber but he has to drive 10 miles. He has to drive 10 miles to see his barber. And that takes, on a Saturday, it takes two to three hours for the whole process to happen. See, he’s loyal. But he’s willing to switch because it’s so inconvenient.
Songe: And then there’s some guys that are so loyal, blindly loyal, that they don’t care how inconvenient it is. Some guys will cheat on their wife for their barber. Those kind of guys are just going to be ride and die. And they’ll wait two hours, they’ll travel an hour to get to their guy.
Dave: I hear some stories, some guy’s come from Connecticut to see their barber in the Lower East Side. I mean, religiously. And you gotta clap it up to these guys, because I wouldn’t do that.
Songe: For some it’s a very sacred relationship. And that’s why what we built is not predicated on switching barbers. So if you have your barber, your person who you’ll stick with and you’re loyal to, that’s fine. We’re just going to make your relationship with him even better. We’re going to remove the transactional element out of it so you can just focus on the human element, connecting with your barber and not have to worry about getting in your pocket for cash and how much you’re going to tip and all that. It’s all taken care of by our app.
NYLP: How did you guys come up with the idea?
Dave: We were squatting at Columbia in SBA office. Because Songe and I live in Harlem at the time. We were just- we were going out, you know, young, somewhat successful people in New York going out, spending all this money on stuff like bottle service and other things. And we thought that we should come together and think of something. And when you think of an idea, you have to start with a problem we feel, like a problem you have. And it was one of those things, “You know what’s really annoying? Getting a haircut.” So once you figure out your problem, you think, “Do I have this problem?” Songe and I have this problem but maybe it’s just African American thing. And then I ask my friends that are Indian and Asian and white. And they too have the same problems. So then we started to dig a little deeper, ask other people. So we surveyed about 300 people. And by and large this was a universal problem. And that’s when we started to create Squire.
NYLP: And you’re only targeting men?
Songe: We’re only targeting men, really because it’s an under-served market. There’s not a lot of other start-ups. There may be some now, but at the time where we came up with the idea, there was literally none. They were targeting this particular area and targeting the male grooming space. There’s a lot on the women’s side actually. There’s quite a few start-ups that are making it easier for women to get salon services and nails and eyebrows and other services that women get. But for men, it was pretty wide open at that time. And even now there’s no major players really. So that’s part of the reason. And the other reason is just that like they said, it’s something that we had experience personally. I don’t know what it’s like to go to a salon. I know what it’s like to go a barbershop. And the two are not the same. They have their whole host of problems and we have separate and different problems. And those are the problems that we’re addressing.
Dave: Absolutely. Like for instance, women like to book appointments any within three to four weeks in advance. I have two sisters and I’ve experienced that first hand, of I got to set an appointment. My aunt was a beautician for about 50 years. So I know that problem. I don’t want to dabble on that. We want to focus on men actually because it’s our problem. We’re solving something that we experience firsthand. And I think when you have- when it’s your problem, you get a certain level of passion around it. That you’re really trying to solve something or fix the system that’s broken for you. And I think that’s very impactful.
NYLP: What’s your biggest threat?
Dave: Balding men.
Songe: Mother Nature.
Dave: No, I mean, our biggest threat is a lot of these guys are somewhat on the independent side, somewhat adverse to like paying taxes. By and large it’s a cash business. But I don’t foresee that as a problem, only an obstacle. And obstacles, you jump over obstacles. And we feel that our value-added brings clients new business, making their customers come more frequently, outweighs that. I mean if you get audited in, see your book, and you have a full book, a calendar, fully booked calendar, and you’re only claiming one-tenth of what you make, chances are you’re going to jail anyway. But by and large that’s been our biggest hurdle. But like I said we’re proving out that it works with some of these guys’ new customers. And we’re actually delivering on the promises that we made. And it’s going well.
Songe: And barbers, they understand where this is going in terms of mobile commerce, in terms of credit card usage. They use Uber themselves. They get it. So there is some convincing that needs to be done on the taxes front. But over time I think that’s going to be less and less of an issue as more people just move to a cashless society.
NYLP: I was going to say that there’s probably some barbers just like being cash for whatever reason. Maybe they work at different shops or everything else that just makes life easier for them. In addition to just kind of becoming more of a cashless society, how are you going to convince them, okay, this is really going to drive that much business to you.
Dave: Proof is in the pudding.
Songe: Yeah, by doing it.
Dave: There’s one shop we drove 10 new organic customers to them in January. We actually drove two new clients to this barber. One barber in a barbershop today. So we know internally the statistics. We know the data. And we’re not trusting just like gut feelings. Everything- we’re data driven. So we know that the average guy gets a haircut every 3.8 weeks. We know that the average haircut is $30. We know that the average guy sticks to his barber 6.5 years. So if we do the math, every client we send you, and our retention rate on our platform right now is 53%, so basically every client we sent you, that’s about anywhere from $2,100 to $2,400 in LTV, long term value. We actually put in your pocket. How much is that worth to you?
NYLP: So are there barbers just sitting around now that don’t have customers and you’re unlocking these?
Songe: Absolutely. So something else that we foresee doing is that barbers have high times and low times. Like most service areas. And during certain days, during certain hours, it’s really, they’ll just be sitting around. They have nothing to do. So the idea is that by using Squire, we’ll be able to enable them to really monetize their downtime over time. Because we’re going to learn that, okay, on this day you’re not getting this many transactions. You should reduce your fees during these hours to drive more traffic. So their customers will be more spread out throughout the day. And they won’t have this lag during the downtime where they’re not cutting anybody’s hair. Because that’s the worst thing for a barber, having nobody in the chair. That’s what they want to avoid at all costs.
NYLP: Or having three people who want to be in the chair.
Songe: Exactly, exactly.
NYLP: So do you know right now what are the peak times and the peak days?
Dave: Yeah. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Anywhere from like four to eight is probably optimal. On Saturday, probably like eleven to five. Because it makes sense. Guys want to go out. The weekend’s here. They’re trying to look Squire fresh for the weekend. And normally you’ll notice that barbershops, if they’re closed, they’re closed Sunday and Monday, because there’s no business.
NYLP: How do you guys make money?
Songe: That’s the question. So what we do is that we charge a small transaction fee that is shifted to the customer. It will end up being nominal, end up being less than a dollar usually between a $1 and $1.50 at most. The reason is that the customer, our thesis is they’ll be willing to pay for the convenience, pay to save the time. And it’s just something that they’re only going to incur once a month on average. Whereas, if we were to charge the barber per transaction, that could be pretty burdensome because since they have so many transactions each day. And in addition to that, for SAAS platform that we’re going to have for the more high end shops, we’re going to charge them monthly subscription fees as well.
Dave: Yeah, I mean to Songe’s point, barbershops averages, like I said, we know that they get haircuts- guys get haircuts one time every 3.8 weeks. And if you tack on a dollar, that’s not hurting someone. But if a barber does 50 haircuts, that’s $50 in lost revenue every single day. So we think it’s better to charge the consumer a nominal fee on a monthly basis.
NYLP: And you kind of alluded to this, but what are each of your backgrounds?
Songe: So I was before this I was a corporate attorney doing M&A, corporate finance at Skadden, big law firm based in the city. I went to Yale for law school, UCLA for undergrad. And yeah, that was it.
Dave: Before this I was in business school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to that I worked in financial sales at AXA selling their annuity products. And then prior to that I was at JPMorgan. And I graduated from the University at Albany. I’m the local kid. That’s my background.
NYLP: And how did you two meet?
Dave: Oh, I used to throw epic house parties in Harlem. Epic. They actually kicked me out. That’s how epic they were. I had these crazy, like it was the height of the recession, so I got this apartment that was probably valued triple for one-third of the cost. And it had about 1800 square feet, outside patio, duplex, with spiral Fresh Prince of Bel-Air staircases. And I just throw epic house parties. Like literally 400 people, had a DJ set up downstairs. And then we just met through there. And Songe has been one of my best friends ever since.
NYLP: Met at your house party.
Dave: Yeah. Or around there. I mean that’s pretty much.
Songe: It was at some party. I don’t remember where it was.
Dave: I had to throw the bug in for the epic house parties.
Songe: Yeah, he threw out the house parties. I don’t know if we met at one of those, but we may have.
NYLP: And how are you dividing the responsibilities now?
Dave: We pretty much do everything, kind of like jack of all trades. Songe does everything, I do everything. Anything he doesn’t do, I do. And it’s just kind of like we started with so much stuff to do, just do it. So that’s what we’re doing right now.
NYLP: Once people use the app, how likely are they to return to the app?
Songe: Yeah, so we’ve been in Beta, and we’ve had the app in the App Store a little over three months now. And we’ve been able to really get some good data on retention and how likely people are to repeat the transaction. So we found that if somebody has the app at least a month since the first booking, the rate of the people that are repeating is 54%. And that is really powerful. It means that people are- majority of people are coming back. And we think that over time that number is actually going to increase. Because people get haircuts at different frequencies. So some guys may only get haircut every six months or every four months. So we’re going to see. The longer the time span is, we think the number will be even higher.
NYLP: And how did you guys raise money to get your start?
Songe: So we raised an Angel round over the summer. And it’s actually an interesting story, how it came about. So we work out of WeWork building. And before we raised any money we really were just bootstrapping. We were splitting one desk. One, it was called a hot desk. It wasn’t even dedicated desk. And really just kind of roughing it to get by. And we had the idea of- it would be cool if we brought barbers to WeWork and have like members get the haircut. So Dave happened to have met one of the executives at WeWork at one day. And they got drinks. So we had a good relationship. So we talked to him about it and they were like, “Yeah, you know what, come pitch us on the idea.” So we did much of research, we surveyed members, we had all these reports and everything ready to present our case at why this will be a good partnership. And we did that and they agreed. We pitched and presented to about three of the high level executives at WeWork. They were like, “You know what, this is a really cool idea. We love what you guys are doing. We want to be supportive. We’ll do this. And is there anything else that you might be- any other ways we can help you?” And at that point we’re like, “You know, if you like the idea so much, would you be interested in investing?” And it turned out that they were. After that we started discussions and they eventually became our first Angel investors. And our Angel investors were a syndicate of WeWork executives.
Dave: We have about five or six from WeWork now.
NYLP: How do people find out more about Squire?
Songe: Follow us at at getsquire on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Check out our Snaps.
NYLP: And you have an iPhone app?
Dave: Yes, we have iOS app. And we also have a web app that is optimized for Android devices. So there’s two ways to download and use Squire. First, search Squire, S-Q-U-I-R-E, in the iOS Apple Store. And secondly, go to shops, S-H-O-P-S, .getquire.com. G-E-T-S-Q-U-I-R-E, dot com.
NYLP: And my only complaint is can you sign up more barbers close to where I live and where I work. Because right now there are none around me.
Songe: We’re working on that.
Dave: We’re working on it.
Songe: By the time this airs, you should have plenty of barbers near where you’re working.
Dave: I’m up to something. We’re up to something.
Songe: Yeah. And also for all you listeners out there, we have a special promo code. And the promo code is NYLAUNCH, and you’ll get $7 off your first service. So check it out and stay Squire Fresh.
NYLP: Seven dollars off, that’s awesome. Thanks guys.
Dave: Thank you.
NYLP: Well, Dave Salvant, Songe Laron, thank you for stepping on to the New York Launch Pod and sharing your time with us.
Dave: Thanks for having us.
NYLP: And if you want to learn more about the New York Launch Pod, you can follow us on social media @NYLaunchPod or visit nylaunchpod.com.SHARE THIS: