Booking Botox is about to become much easier.
On Tuesday, a new on-demand booking app for aesthetic services called Upkeep raised $2 million in seed funding, led by Anthemis Female Innovators Lab Fund and 1517 Fund.
Upkeep works by allowing users to view and book neurotoxin and filler services, such as Botox and Juvederm, as well as facials, body contouring and hair removal. After creating an account, people can view options to add to cart and clearly see the cost. Options are based on varying amounts of neurotoxins and fillers, with each option explaining possible use cases such as a lip flip. Upkeep is available in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Miami, Palm Beach and New York City.
Since launching at the beginning of 2022, Upkeep’s monthly active user growth has been 24% month-over-month, with 80% of users becoming repeat bookers, said Tiffany Faith Demers, founder and CEO of Upkeep. Upkeep plans to use its seed funding to launch in six new markets by the end of 2022, using data from its 20,000-person waitlist to guide its expansion strategy. The company plans to grow its service menu in other categories and add customized treatment packages. Upkeep partnered with Affirm in October, which is anticipated to increase top-line revenue by 20%, said Demers.
“We want to ensure that our model is sound, regarding the unit economics [ratio] of customer acquisition to lifetime value. [Aesthetics] is one of those very compelling spaces, from that perspective,” said Demers. “When you start receiving Botox, you [usually] are doing that on a repeat schedule for the rest of your life. Our focus is around building a platform that’s the easiest to use for the customer.”
On-demand aesthetic platforms are not new, and not all have proven successful. In April 2019, Allergan launched a website, TryRegi.com, that provided instant booking services for its Botox and Juvederm treatments alongside more basic spa services such as manicures and massages. Regi closed down in June 2020. Another platform focused on convenience called The Skin Clique currently operates in more than a dozen states, and allows patients to book aesthetic injectables and receive treatments in their own homes. On-demand and at-home booking apps such as Glamquad, Soothe and Priv all exist, but they have remained in the more traditional at-home lanes of blowouts, spray tans and massages.
Aside from unit economics, Demers said another issue with industry forebears has been that the quality of care and vetting of injectors decreases as providers expand to more than a handful of locations. In turn, this impacts how well platforms and apps can service customers. Upkeep instead plans to only selectively allow smaller boutique chains and individual providers, even as its customer base grows. Given the number of boutique providers, Upkeep can continue to add more to the platform, without having to resort to larger chains, said Demers. Providers benefit from Upkeep’s own marketing; the symbiotic relationship allows providers an influx of new patients without shelling out for advertising, while Upkeep generates revenue from charging providers a booking fee.
“The cosmetic healthcare category is growing exponentially, as stigmas around these treatments are broken down and younger generations become increasingly transparent about all elements of their wellness routines,” said Katie Palencsar, managing director and global head of Venture Studio at Anthemis. “Upkeep is digitizing the category as a whole to provide the access and convenience these users expect, and their rapid growth is a testament to that demand.”
Demers said there are three types of Upkeep users. The first are younger users ages 19-25 who are testing out first-time treatments, typically opting for a service like a lip flip which costs $160. The second group are 25-35 and are more open to trying new treatments, such as the Morpheus 8 facial treatment. Meanwhile, those 35 and older are more consistent but traditional in their aesthetic selections, opting more often for fillers and neurotoxins exclusively. Demers pointed out the potential to offer providers and pharmaceutical companies more analytics from Upkeep. She said that, for now, Upkeep only charges a booking fee per appointment, but access to analytics could be provided for a monthly membership fee.
“From the provider’s perspective, [they know] social content is key to getting new customers in the door. But as much as they’re spending to try to acquire new customers, they can’t keep up with a content-driven approach, and it’s very expensive for them,” said Demers. “Another key problem that every provider has is that their front desk team doesn’t necessarily care about the bottom line. Sometimes an email is missing or a voicemail gets left unheard. An [Upkeep] appointment is automatically put on their calendar, and it’s prepaid.”