Bookwell to be acquired by global rival Fresha

bookwell

Source: Unsplash/Adam Winger

Aussie-grown beauty and wellbeing marketplace Bookwell is set to be acquired by global competitor Fresha.

The terms of the transaction have not been revealed, but it is rumoured to be an all-scrip deal that puts an eight-figure valuation on the Aussie business.

Founded in 2017, Bookwell is an online marketplace allowing people to book treatments at small and medium beauty and wellness businesses.

The acquisition will mark a change for the more than 700 Australian businesses that currently reach customers through the Bookwell platform. About 80,000 customers currently access the Bookwell marketplace every week.

A notice on Bookwell’s site confirms the business has “joined forces” with Fresha, and directs them to sign up to the global platform.

In a statement, co-founder and chief executive Matt Dyer said the acquisition provides a “perfect opportunity to enhance Bookwell’s offering”.

The new platform also offers tools for facilitating online payments, self-service bookings and automated marketing, he said.

This isn’t the first time Dyer and co-founder Nathan Airey have piqued the interest of international rivals.

The pair also founded EatNow, which merged with MenuLog in 2015. Just months later, MenuLog was acquired by UK giant Just Eat in an $855 million deal.

This time around, Bookwell investors — including Luxury Escapes founders Adam Schwab and Jeremy Same, Catch Group’s Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Carsales’ Australian boss Ajay Bhatia and Aura Venture fund, are set to take a stake in Fresha.

Headquartered in London, Fresha is used by some 60,000 businesses across more than 120 countries.

The business was founded in 2015 under the name Shedul, and rebranded in 2020.

In December last year, it secured a US$52.5 million ($73.7 million) add-on to its Series C round, bringing the total raise to US$152.5 million ($214.2).

That gave the business a valuation of more than US$640 million ($898.8 million).

Fresha founder and chief executive William Zeqiri said there is a “natural synergy” between Fresha’s marketplace and Bookwell’s base of partner businesses.

“Bookwell’s progress in Australia is commendable,” he added.

“The team have built a strong business model helping salons and therapists save thousands each year on marketing to fill empty appointments.”

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