Alanna Gregory knows what a bad hair day can do to a woman's confidence. "I have really thick, curly hair and it can be quite unruly, especially on humid New York City summer days," she admits. Gregory remembers walking into meetings at Barclays, hair askew, feeling disheveled and thinking that everyone else at the boardroom table noticed too. That's when she began ducking into the salon multiple times a week to get a quick hair style and blowout. At first she assumed that the salons would be empty early in the morning or late at night when she could fit it in, but instead they were packed to the brim with other women who felt the exact same pain point.
Week after week, as Gregory relaxed in her chair lulled by the hum of the hairdryer and surrounded by muted chatter of the other patrons, she began to think through the business case: a service where on-the-go women could seamlessly book blow-outs at any of the best salons whenever and wherever. She launched Vive to do just that in January in 2014.
After participating in Y Combinator's 2015 class, Vive expanded to Chicago in addition to her launch city, New York. To date, the company has processed over 34,000 bookings and is already scouting their next city locations. To fuel growth, they have just announced a $2.3 million dollar raise led by Deep Fork Capital with participation by Y Combinator, Crunchfund, Ludlow Ventures as well as Scooter Braun's SB Project and a number of other notable VCs and angels.
Gregory is ecstatic about the incredible success so far. To her, Vive is about so much more than a beauty routine. "It empowers women to look and feel their best each and every day, on their own terms." To that end Vive has just released an app that allows members to book on the go and tip with Apple Pay. The user experience is flawless and makes the end-to-end process seamless, convenient and cashless.
Celebrity hair-stylists are flocking to the new and trendy service to give their clients an even better, more curated experience. To capitalize on this growing market, Vive signed David Babaii as its global brand ambassador. Babaii is one of the most in-demand Hollywood stylists with clients that include Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman. Gregory and Babaii will work closely together to design and invent new services for Vive's rapidly growing user base.
Just how far could this startup go? "Sky is the limit!" says Gregory, "We just launched an a la carte menu where you can buy single, 3-pack, 5-pack, or unlimited blow-outs at a discounted member rate and we are already selling way over our projections." And Vive is just getting started. "With this new capital infusion, we are looking to expand into new products and services. In a few years, Vive will dominate the beauty regimen market."