How an Australian tech entrepreneur is revolutionising the beauty industry

Matt Jones is no stranger to entrepreneurial spirit.

The 32-year-old has already grown three profitable companies together with Zomato, which he based and grew in Australia following its acquisition of Urban Spoon; Quandoo, which he launched in Asia-Pacific; and Delivery Hero, which he grew to over 4400 eating places throughout Australia.

In the meals tech world, it’s protected to say he’s an professional.

But Matt’s ardour for making the world a extra accessible place has led him to pursue his most up-to-date enterprise enterprise in unfamiliar territory: the beauty and wellness industry.

Honee is the reply many people have been ready for with out even realising. Matt created the web site after he and his group of buddies found over 99.eight% of all salon bookings are remodeled the telephone or in individual.

The entrepreneur determined to look into the risk of making an on-line listing for individuals to seek out native beauty salons and make bookings on-line. As a end result, Honee was born.

The web site is not solely shifting mountains for the customer-service aspect of the beauty industry. Behind the scenes, Honee is serving to small companies use knowledge to leverage buyer relationships, develop their enterprise and empower their staff to create a constructive and on model buyer expertise.

With one industry already in the palm of his hand and one other at his fingertips, we requested Matt to provide us the lowdown on the right way to conquer the enterprise world.

Over the previous 5 years, you’ve made a reputation for your self by engaged on a few of Australia’s largest meals tech platforms. Did this stem from a private ardour for meals, or did it merely make sense to use your information on this industry?

“Growing up, my Grandad on my Mum’s aspect was good pals with a bunch of restaurateurs which had an enormous impact on my childhood, however to be trustworthy, what I’ve all the time been sincerely keen about is small enterprise.

“After my Master’s research, I jumped at the alternative to hitch Delivery Hero when it was actually beginning to kick off in Australia. I used to be lucky sufficient to be in the proper place at the proper time, and in addition prepared to work for a 60% pay-cut from my wage at the financial institution to get in.

“I’ve all the time seen a wage as a ball and chain, the reverse of freedom.

“I joined Delivery Hero when it was underneath A$200m valuation and now it’s over A$7 billion. Quandoo received a fantastic A$400m exit and Zomato simply doubled its valuation to over A$three.5 billion – food-tech is getting loopy aggressive!

“To be trustworthy, although, Food-tech has nothing on Beauty-tech regardless that Beauty-tech is a bit in the darkish ages. Aussie households spend 3x quantity of disposable revenue on wellness and beauty as they do on consuming out and takeaway.

“The reason I love the beauty industry is that it’s about one-to-one relationships. It’s such a great industry to be in, and it’s set for explosive growth now that Honee is here.”

Since synthetic intelligence performs a key position in your new enterprise, Honee, how do you see it altering the beauty industry in the future?

“Once salons are correctly networked, Skynet will use this to ship stylists again in time to cease Britney Spears, her pigtails and the 90s from ever occurring – making certain 80’s feminine flattops and bangs survive properly into the future.

“Seriously although, there are two elements to this. What salon house owners want and the alternative staring us in the face. Salon house owners want rapport not stories, chat not charts, dialog not SQL queries.

“They are passionate, one-on-one relationship builders who might speak the leg off a chair. A.I. is essential to the adoption of latest applied sciences in the beauty industry.

“Through Nectar (our chatbot) they’ve 24/7 entry to each bit of knowledge about their enterprise, the way it’s performing and suggestions from shoppers. It’s on Facebook in order that they don’t even should be in the salon to talk with Nectar.

“The different a part of this is the alternative – 99.eight% of bookings happen over the telephone – the telephone is our enemy! There is a lot knowledge on the market about beauty and most of it is utterly undigitised.

“We managed to get over 200,000 services listed on our platform just by doing what no one else was willing to do – collect data.”

“Pretty quickly we’ll begin seeing salons of the future powered by Honee. You’ll stroll into the salon and a glance guide might be autogenerated for you based mostly on types which might be trending and in your space.

Portrait of young man with spiked brown-blonde hair, short beard and teal t-shirt.

“It will all be augmented, which suggests you’ll be able to look in the mirror and see what every fashion seems like on you earlier than deciding. It will all be tailor-made to your pores and skin tone, hair quantity, hair color and preferences.

“Most of this data is already sitting and waiting on Instagram, but it’s not collated or categorised properly.”

You’ve stated the concept for Honee got here after chatting to the proprietor of a salon close to your office. How precisely did a dialog over a haircut flip into an on-line beauty platform?

“I was building Zomato at the time and Chris, the owner of Preen (a Kevin Murphy salon on Collins St) would always bug me. Every time I got a haircut, without fail – “Matt! When are you going to build a Zomato for my industry?”.

“I by no means actually took it that critically till I provided to assist Chris with a few of his digital work. It was then once I realised how unconnected the industry was, how dangerous it was from a shopper’s viewpoint making an attempt to find precisely what they have been after and what number of different advertising companies have been profiting from salon house owners’ lack of tech sophistication.

“It wasn’t lengthy after our preliminary analysis that we had all give up Zomato. From there, we set about bodily visiting each single venue in Melbourne.

“We did what Google couldn’t, and it paid off. Now, we get well over 3 million search impressions a month, with over 40,000 bookings. Guess the lesson is that if you want real change to occur, find people who can do it and persist! Thanks, Chris!.”

Have you all the time aspired to be an entrepreneur, or has every little thing come as a little bit of a shock?

“I all the time needed to earn money, plenty of it. I’ve competitors in me.

“I assume hustle is one thing that has all the time been the hearth in my blood, I failed the first two semesters of my undergraduate course as a result of I had scaled my webhosting firm to a whole lot of shoppers throughout the globe.

Preen, where the idea for Honee was born, is one of countless salons listed on the website.

Preen, the place the concept for Honee was born, is one among numerous salons listed on the web site.

“I learnt there are serious limits to what I can do alone, I need other people to help, you have to have a team to really succeed. I realised I was going to have to spend time learning from other people, hence the emphasis on working at Delivery Hero, Quandoo and Zomato.”

What has been the largest problem of your profession, and the way has it formed the individual you’re at this time?

“Tough one – it’s all related. Moving to India on a whim for a six-month internship, finally led to the alternative to scale Zomato after the Urbanspoon acquisition a few years later.

“Taking an enormous pay-cut to work with pizza outlets all day, finally led to the snap alternative to leap on a aircraft and take over the Singapore restaurant market inside 5 months.

“There was just one actual problem in my profession, one main level of definition and that was once I determined to stay to my rules and rise up for what I consider in.

“I [once] discovered myself in a selected state of affairs the place I knew what we have been doing was improper and towards my rules, with yearly bonuses in danger and assurances that nobody would know what we have been actually doing. I couldn’t rationalise it the method everybody else was.

“From that time on I refused to compromise my values. Needless to say, it wasn’t the final time this kind of factor occurred, however I managed to get out inside a yr or so after this preliminary case. It taught me to again your beliefs.

“Now I’m serving to small enterprise house owners to have the confidence to unlock progress and turn into higher leaders themselves.

“I am in love with the industry I work in.”

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