The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses across the world was least anticipated when the contagion began to spread and businesses had to shut down. For Black-led businesses, the effect was enormous as they are traditionally underfunded and face other impediments such as systemic racism.
Squire, a Black-led startup that sells software to barbershops, made huge losses due to the pandemic but has made a remarkable comeback.
The tech startup offers barbershop management and booking mobile application that connects barbers and clients nationwide. The company has processed over $100M of payments for over 1,000 shops to date.
In March, the firm saw its revenue fall to zero due to the lockdown. Ten months later, it has raised up to 250 million in a series of funding rounds. It recently raised $45 million in equity capital and $15 million in debt financing led by Iconiq Capital, Techcrunch reports.
According to Squire Co-founder Songe LaRon, the firm took on $15 million in debt financing to create a banking-as-a-service feature for these business owners. “This market is underserved by traditional financial institutions,” he said. “And we think there’s opportunities to help these owners with financial tools.”
Despite business hurting due to the pandemic, LaRon believes barbershops are in a good position to survive in economic difficulties as people will need a haircut.
“We’re focused on providing the payment infrastructure and financial services that will help barbershops reopen successfully and excel post-COVID. This investment will help us scale and execute on our goal of becoming the industry standard for barbershops.”
The latest fundraise comes months after Squire secured $34 million in Series B funding led by CRV, which has effectively tripled its valuation from $85 million in June to $250 million in December. “We just took off like a lightning bolt,” co-founder Dave Salvant told TechCrunch.
A large chunk of the funds raised will go into hiring new sales and marketing professionals. With a staff strength of 100, the company plans to expand to new markets such as Australia, UK and Canada.
Squire was founded in 2015. It has offices in New York City and Buffalo, NY, and maintains operations in 35 major cities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is also a Y Combinator-backed company and is a 43North award recipient. It operates in 35 major cities in the U.S, UK and Canada.