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Eric Wei, Eric Noeth and Douglas Hallstrom • December 15, 2020Perspectives

Zenoti: Driving digital acceleration in the spa and salon industry

Our purpose at Advent Tech is to be the partner-of-choice to growth-focused founders and management teams building juggernaut businesses…Companies with the potential to have outsized impact in their markets. Our investment in Zenoti reflects several of our core beliefs regarding what business model ingredients unlock juggernaut performance.

Firstly, we believe that innovative software is ever more forcefully permeating vertical-specific workflows, and in doing so unlocking tremendous business value. Getting this right typically requires deep understanding of the specific requirements of an industry. Before founding Zenoti, Sudheer worked as an investor-operator in the spa and salon industry. His frustration with manual tasks, poor data and bad customer experiences inspired him to build an intelligent, digital operating system for spas and salons. Like a central nervous system, Zenoti automates activities that previously had to be done manually or with fragmented legacy systems & processes… think booking appointments online, organizing the weekly work schedule, ordering missing inventory, or marketing new products and services to customers. Spas and salons have for too long had to work with on-premise software, often lacking mobile accessibility, with restricted data sharing across centers, and poor UX. Today, as spas and salons continue to adopt Zenoti’s cloud based, modular software and digitize their organizations, the relationship with Zenoti – and Zenoti’s role in the industry – becomes ever more mission-critical and valuable.

Secondly, and relatedly, we believe that central systems of record are increasingly proving their potential to serve customers far beyond record-keeping and workflow automation. As the focal technology pane for spas and salons, Zenoti can be the gateway into so much more: marketing, talent sourcing and staffing, eCommerce enablement, social media monitoring and financial services, to name a few.

Zenoti is already helping its customers digitize payments; most customers who sign-up to Zenoti today, also replace their point-of-sale system with Zenoti’s embedded payments solution. This solution creates a better consumer check-out experience, while also providing the spa or salon with a ‘single view of the customer’.

As a firm, Advent has a long and successful history of investing in payments businesses. We have observed the increasingly powerful convergence of software and payments, and invested in businesses like TSG and Clearent-Fieldedge capturing the same opportunity in other industry verticals. In backing Zenoti, we are excited to see a true platform business architecture drive value for spas and salons.

Zenoti has incredible momentum winning enterprise spa and salon customers who see the value in its platform approach – Toni & Guy, Hand & Stone, European Waxing Center just to name a few recent wins, each with over 500 centers in their chains – but we also look forward to making the platform increasingly accessible to smaller spa and salon brands with digital transformation on their agendas. With its modular, multi-tenant SaaS technology, Zenoti is purpose built to scale up and down for these organizations.

Finally, we believe that people and culture trumps all else in creating success-at-scale. As a collective team at Advent Tech, we have backed several juggernaut businesses over the last decades. These businesses have shared cultural features which we think have been core to their success, namely: truth seeking, diversity, bold ambition, and customer-centricity… with a servant approach to leadership. The more time we spend with Sudheer and the team at Zenoti, the starker their passion for the spa and salon industry, commitment to innovation and customer excellence and respectful nature all shine through.

Building true juggernaut businesses requires state-of-the-art technology, amazing talent and a commitment to continued improvement and innovation, which Zenoti has in spades. But it also requires customers to trust the company, and to be willing to adopt technology as ‘the way forward’. We have been amazed at the forward-thinking attitude and technology appetite amongst the management teams in the spa and salon businesses we have spent time with over the past months. Hearing them speak about how cloud software is allowing them to expand their businesses faster, serve customers better – and in a ‘touchless’ way during Covid – and improve their internal operations to save cost, has been a refreshing and reaffirming experience for us as technology investors. And hearing one customer say that ‘we feel deeply privileged to have Zenoti invest in the technology for our industry’ convinced us that our investment in Zenoti is going to make a big positive business impact.

This is why we are so excited to back Zenoti in this landmark investment for the company and we are looking forward to extending the resources of our global investment platform to help Zenoti accelerate its growth and raise the bar for what the spa and salon experience can be.