A MELBOURNE entrepreneur hailing from the food tech scene has launched a new venture to change the face of beauty.
After recognising the proliferation of beauty and wellness, Matt Jones (pictured) decided to shift gears and apply his tech pedigree to the industry.
He secured more than $500,000 from investors to fund Honee - an online directory of beauty businesses including GPS coordinates, trading hours, images, service menus and price lists.
The platform is designed to make it easier for locals and tourists to find service providers, as well as manage detailed customer information and bookings.
Honee has a database of more than 4000 businesses in Melbourne, covering beauty, hair and nail salons, massage clinics, day spas and fitness studios.
The team uncovered the majority of these businesses by trawling through the city, with 61 per cent not owning a website.
Jones has held a number of senior roles at Delivery Hero, Quandoo Asia Pacific and Zomato, which he launched in Australia following its acquisition of Urbanspoon. During this time, he onboarded more than 8500 restaurants across these systems.
"The potential to innovate in the beauty category is huge," Jones says.
"Overwhelmingly consumers use search engines for information despite many small businesses having a limited online presence, make a phone call to enquire about pricing and to book, and then arrive to either a good or bad experience.
"Honee simplifies the process, ensuring customers can locate all the options in their desired area and transact with the best choice for them."
Jones came up with the concept while searching for a hairdresser after returning home from a two-year stint overseas.
He says his experience shows that Honee is not limited to the female market, with males more likely to search for grooming and wellness services online rather than seek recommendations from friends.
"I have seen first-hand how businesses like Urbanspoon changed consumer behaviour towards eating out, where Australians spend 8 per cent of their disposable income on out-of-home dining," Jones says.
"Compare that to the beauty and wellness sector where Aussie households are spending up to 38 per cent of their disposable income and we have a very exciting opportunity for Honee."
Honee will expand to Sydney early next year, with plans to tackle Bali and south-east Asia in the next two years.
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