On-demand service applications seem to be somewhat of a focus across Australia’s startup scene at the moment. There is literally an “Uber for…”, wellm anything that you can imagine these days, including marijuana if you live in San Francisco.
Sydney startup Blys is the latest to launch into the local market with its “Uber for massage” on-demand application and platform.
We are so connected via media with what is going in other startup ecosystems like Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle et al, so I am surprised that there already aren’t any notable players in the market – at least right now.
The startup, founded by Daniel Mcleay and Ilter Dumduz, allows users to book their own in-home or hotel massages with high-quality, industry-recognised therapists in as little as one hour. There are no phone calls and no cash payments; all of that is taken care of seamlessly in the back-end of the product in the same way that services like Uber and Lyft have become famous for.
At the moment Blys offers its customers the option of five different styles of massage: Swedish Relaxation Massage, Remedial and Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, and Pregnancy Massage. The startup also offers couples massages, which means that two Blys therapists will come and massage the customer and their spouse, partner or friend at the same time.
It should also be noted that even though Blys wants its customers using the platform to be happy, its policies mean that therapists will not be delivering any users happy endings.
The platform is currently live for Sydney-based users, operating between 8am and 10pm, 7 days a week. After proper testing and market feedback activities have taken place in the Sydney market, Blys plans to begin a national roll-out of the service.
“The pressure is on to make it happen,” said Mcleay and Dumduz. “The quicker we make it happen the better off we are going to be in terms of positioning ourselves as the leader in the market.”
The pair are right – I am sure that Blys will have a competitor in-market sooner than everyone thinks. The level of success Blys sees in relation to speed to market and returning customers will determine whether or not it remains the leader in Australia and therefore survives.
Even the United States only has one dominant player now. In 2013 both Zeel and Soothe launched their Uber for massage platforms, with both companies raising a little over $1.5 million each. Even though both the companies still operate, it is Soothe that has become a giant and the clear market leader in the space.
To date, that platform has raised $47.7 million, it currently has 40 employees ,and there are an estimated 350,000 massage therapists across the United States that CEO Merlin Kauffman said it is targeting to capture a large slice of the US$14 billion industry.
With that kind of working capital, it is no surprise they are the market leader. As Kauffman himself told Venture Beat in March this year, “We have the best metrics so far, and we have the most capital, [We’ve] added 1,000 massage therapists in four months.”
These are the types of metrics that Blys will be needing to achieve to stay on top, relative to the size of the Australian market of course. Cofounders Mcleay and Dumduz are not just entering their first startup rodeo though either – between them, the pair have highly developed skill sets in design, web development and, most importantly, product management.
The pair have also worked for high-growth tech companies like Freelancer, Glam Corner, Domain, and music platform Mia.
They know what they are doing, so the more important question to ask is, do Australians want people attending their homes to give them massages?
I think the answer is yasss kween.
Featured Image: Daniel Mcleay and Ilter Dumduz | Source: Press Kit