A female founded Pakistani startup has gone where no man has gone before, securing major funding from a domestic investor for its project. BeautyHooked has raised $280,000 from a seed round led by Fatima Ventures, a subsidiary of the Fatima Group. In a country where startups frequently have to look for funding from international corporations and markets, Beautyhooked has broken new ground.
The startup is a salon and spa discovery platform that allows you to find and book beauty appointments in the best salon. The startup has revolutionized the whole process of experiencing beauty services in Pakistan. You can now compare prices and services at different establishments and then book an appointment online at any time. BeautyHooked also provides beauty salons with a new way to publicize their work, increase their clientele and grow their business.
The startup, led by CEO and founder, Sahr Said, came first out of 61 other teams competing in the Lahore Startup Weekend in 2015. It was incubated at the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship and the startup’s success then got it selected for acceleration at PlanX.
BeautyHooked’s dynamic business model allows them to generate new streams of revenue from their beauty booking platform. When salons first join the startup, they pay a maintenance fee for a month and then every month they can choose a different package that offers additional features such as marketing and advertising. The startup also hosts beauty classes and events and get a fee from the sponsors of those events. Sidra Talha, Co-founder and Head of Operations added, “This is a completely untapped market and we don’t have any other competitors at the moment.”
Due to the startup’s success, big leaguers like Google Singapore have invited BeautyHooked to explore expansion opportunities in Asia and the founder, Sahr Said has been named as the “4 Promising Female Tech Entrepreneurs from Pakistan” by TechInAsia.
Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board said, “The ability to hit a home-run and build a $100 million company exists only in tech startups. And this will change the way that young people now look at their potential and the opportunity in this country.” He also added that this was the first time that traditional businessmen were investing in young entrepreneurs and their tech businesses rather than simply putting their money back into the family business.
Read more: Monetizing Startups in Pakistan
BeautyHooked has recently closed a deal with a Qatar based corporation to expand their business there. On the success of their startup, Sahr said, “Within a year, we have become an international business. The seed round will give us the runway we need to make our dream a reality of building a truly global Pakistan based beauty-tech company, and putting Pakistani startups, women, and technology on the internet map.”