In the beginning stages of offering a service it can be tempting rely on Facebook to obtain customers. While this may be a starting point at best, it is often ineffective and unprofessional. If you want to provide your service in a more secure way, then check out Let’s RandeVu. The mobile marketplace providing lifestyle services, allows any service to be posted for everyone to utilize. With a strong vision and a stronger product, the founders are looking to change how you book your next food, fitness or style related service.
LA TechWatch chatted with cofounder Afshin Nahid about the startup and their first round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We have secured $130K from friends and family.
Tell us about your product or service.
Let’s RandeVu is a mobile marketplace that allows people to book lifestyle services. We have created a platform that allows people to book, meet and pay someone for either an in-person or virtual service.
It is also a business tool that people can use to manage and grow their business and brand.
What inspired you to start the company?
Let’s RandeVu was started to solve for an inefficiency in how lifestyle type services are booked. We noticed an escalating trend of people using their personal social media accounts to market themselves, or a service they offer, with no easy or secure way for people to actually book them. We wanted to solve this problem.
Additionally, we wanted to build a platform that allows anyone to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. By creating this platform, we can help facilitate the process for someone to get paid for a service they can provide. Our providers will have a powerful tool that allows them to manage the services they want to offer, set their own rates and schedules, market themselves and of course, get paid.
How is it different?
There are a lot of things that sets Let’s RandeVu apart, however one of the most innovative is the ability for Providers to offer Virtual Services and get paid for them. This has practical applications across all four of our offered categories. For example, fitness professionals could offer weight-loss coaching, expert beauty professionals can offer makeup tutorials and chefs can offer cooking lessons, all virtually.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the lifestyle market and offering the following four categories at launch: Fitness, Food, Style and Social. Many factors went into picking these categories including the total number of bookings done in each of these categories, which is upwards of 1.1 billion per year.
What’s your business model?
We take a small service fee from each transaction. The app is free to download with no monthly subscriptions. In our surveys, we have found that Providers would gladly accept a small fee in exchange for more business. It was a no-brainer for them.
What are some of the most popular services used through RandeVu?
At launch, we plan to allow providers to offer services in the following 4 categories: Fitness, Food, Style and Social. We anticipate our “Virtual Services” will be one of the more popular services used.
What was the funding process like?
Until this point, we have only raised money from friends and family. We did, however, first approach VC’s that stated they were interested in either ‘pre-seed’ or ‘seed’ types of ventures. After having a few meetings, we essentially got the same answers across the board: “Great idea. Launch the product, get some traction and come back to us.” We also had a few say that they had a different focus than P2P Marketplaces at this time. We realized that finding a venture firm to get involved at our early stage would be a tough task, so we decided to approach friends and family so we could start working on getting the product built.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Initially, the funding process was a challenge. Luckily, we had several friends and family that believed in the founding team as well as the overall concept. Everyone agreed that there was a need for this product and understood the inefficiencies we were solving for.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The #1 factor was the diversity and experience of our founding team. Our investors had nothing to base their decision on aside from our vision and the experience we brought to the table. They were all savvy enough to understand that ideas don’t mean anything, however what matters is the execution.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months, we plan to launch our MVP in the LA market only. We are treating this as a ‘soft-launch’ in order to really fine-tune our product based on user behavior, complaints, compliments and everything in-between. We plan to limit our Providers to only 200 in the LA market. Once we work out the kinks, we will expand our reach.
In parallel, we will be creating marketing content, expanding on product strategy, developing exciting referral programs and of course, raising more money.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The network in Los Angeles is growing rapidly. Try to immerse yourselves in those networks and build relationships. Also, don’t be afraid to bounce your idea off as many people as possible (preferably those who can give insights and have experience in the startup world). This will allow you to create a product that is that much better. Lastly, don’t be afraid to bet on yourselves. If investors see that you put your own money, blood, sweat and tears you have a much better shot.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We plan to have focused launches in the next 6-12 months in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami. Additionally, we will build a strong relationship with the providers in these cities and work with them to maximize their business potential. We want to become the most powerful tool for anyone who offers a service that can be booked.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
This really depends what part of LA we find ourselves. Some recent ones have been ROKU on Sunset, the bar at the Beverly Wilshire, and 71Above.