As everyone looks to ditch the “COVID manes,” Squire Technologies is growing its war chest.
Having benefited from a rash of barbershops digitizing during the era of social distancing, Squire, the maker of software specifically aimed at businesses that trim men’s hair and beards, on Wednesday announced a new round of funding that triples its valuation to $750 million just under a year since it received its last venture round less than a year ago. (That round, officially announced back in December, was led by Iconiq Capital, a multifamily office who invests on behalf of high-profile tech executives including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.)
The new Series D round, which totals around $60 million, was led by Tiger Global and included participation from Iconiq, CRV, and Trinity Ventures.
At the start of stay-at-home orders last year, Squire’s revenues plummeted. But as businesses began reopening at limited capacity, more and more barbers began turning to Squire to coordinate scheduling and manage payments—giving the company a boost.
Since Squire takes both a subscription fee and a percentage of each haircut or trim made through its platform, Squire’s founders, President Dave Salvant and CEO Songe LaRon say rising vaccination rates and return to higher occupancy limits in barbershops has continued to benefit the company as consumers return to professionals to get their cuts.
“We’ve started seeing more shops coming back online that didn’t close down and their customers coming back with pent up demand,” said LaRon.
While the company declined to give a specific revenue figure, it expects to grow its topline by about 300% this year.
Having been an investor in Squire since mid-2020, Tiger put its bid for the company together rapidly, over the course of a week. Adhering to its playbook, the hedge fund-turned-omnipresent-venture-investor will not be taking a board seat — a strategy that has helped the investor win many deals, including, it seems, this one.
“Tiger,” said Salvant, “wins deals because they are able to move fast so that founders can optimize — they get out of the way and let you just run the company.”
Shuffling its workforce
Now with over 200 people across the organization, many of whom have never met in person, Squire is making an unusual move as it grows: It’s looking to onshore members of its team, even though it will come at a higher monetary cost to the company.
The company, which is based out of New York, has some 25 employees in Eastern Europe — not an uncommon sight in tech companies as talent is generally cheaper there — at least some of whom the company is trying to bring into the same time zone by moving Toronto.
Squire has been gradually moving those workers on a case-by-case basis to the Canadian city, “as they become more senior — we like to wait a year or two before we present them with the opportunity to move to Toronto,” said Salvant. “There are some efficiencies you lose by not being in the same time zone. So from a business continuity standpoint, it makes sense. It also means a greater quality of life for our employees.”
About seven of those workers are now in Canada, with LaRon estimating that the moves are costing Squire 30% more than before per employee on that team. Notably, Squire would have moved the team to the U.S., but immigrating stateside remains more difficult than moving to Canada.
There also happens to be a red hot market for talent at the moment, especially with the explosion of venture dollars pushing companies to expand their teams rapidly. LaRon and Salvant are well aware that even before the pandemic, engineers were already hard to come by. And they want to stay ahead of any attrition.
“Hiring is a struggle. This job market is just so, so hot,” said Salvant. “When we’re engaging recruiting firms, they say they can’t take on any more clients because they are so backed up. We’re fortunate that we don’t lose people, but at the same time it’s a challenging environment to get new employees at both the executive and entry level.”
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