Virgin StartUp of the week: Venetia Archer of Ruuby

In our everyday lives - stretched for time and stressed out - we crave efficiency and convenience. Ruuby is an app which perfectly embodies this; you can book a last-minute beauty appointment with no fuss, and without ringing around every salon to discover if they have a space for you.

We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Pease answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.

Richard B in lift

Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does

Ruuby is a mobile app for beauty bookings in London. We noticed that there are so many moments when people need a last minute haircut, blowdry or manicure, and they find themselves scrambling around for an appointment by ringing or visiting multiple locations. We wanted to create a go-to list of availabilities - something like TopTable, but for the beauty industry.

Ruuby offers users access to treatments when they want them. They can make and pay for last minute appointments through the app, and choose between a list of carefully curated spas and salons. If they want, they can also arrange for a therapist to perform the treatment at home.

Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?

West London, with a view to opening an office east.

Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?

Ruuby takes a 15% commission from the bookings made through the app. Salons can list with us for free, and make use of our bespoke salon management software, so they only pay when we bring them customers. App users only pay for their treatment (and there are no surcharges or booking fees).

Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?

We have one main competitor in the UK, and there are a couple of similar apps in the US. People are finally realising just how underrepresented the massively fragmented beauty services industry is in the tech space, and we expect to see more tech solutions for the industry to appear in the next 12 months.

Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?

We work with a list of carefully curated salons and spas, offering people access to great appointments, when they want them. We avoid pushing discounts, as our users are more focused on easy access to bookings. We do, however, have great relationships with our partner salons, so we can put together special packages and beauty-related events that can’t be found anywhere else.

Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?

I always needed my nails done, and hated having to ring or run around to try and find an appointment. It meant sometimes I just wouldn’t even bother – and this was the same for all of my friends. I had the idea for ages, and was actually waiting for someone else to do it. When they didn’t, I thought I would!

Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?

£25,000

Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?

A new website, marketing and staff. We are getting ready for our launch, and we expect things to get even busier once we are live. We are concentrating on bettering our processes so we have fewer barriers to growing smoothly and quickly.

Floor 8 to 9 – What’s your workspace like?

Workspace

Floor 9 to 10 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

Making beauty appointments over the Ruuby app will be second nature to our key audience (women between 20 and 45). We will have cultivated great relationships with key partners to offer our users fantastic new experiences, and the app will have launched in other cities.

To find out more about Ruuby visit their website, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.