MyTime Wants to Create a One-Stop Shopping Destination for Local Services
MyTime is a new service launching in Los Angeles today that makes booking appointments for a haircut, carpet cleaning and yoga as easy as checking out on Amazon.com.
The company is backed by $3 million in funding from GRP Partners’ Mark Suster, 500 Startups’ Dave McClure and other angels, including Brian Lee, David Tisch and Jason Calacanis, and was founded by Ethan Anderson, who sold his first startup, Redbeacon, to The Home Depot last year.
Anderson calls the service “the world’s first online open appointment superstore” because it aggregates local merchant calendars in one place online. So far, the company has launched in Los Angeles, where it is working with a few thousand merchants, who have more than half a million appointments available for the next month.
Categories include automotive, health and beauty, home and garden, medical and dental, sports and fitness and pets, but not restaurants or other food services.
On the consumer-facing side, customers come to the site to find open appointments, then book and pay for the services in advance, whether for that day or later.
For the merchant, the service is all about finding new customers and getting new people in the door, much like Groupon.
MyTime will help local service providers fill unused inventory by advertising on Google, Facebook and Twitter. The site will also dynamically price the services, so if there is free time coming up immediately — or in generally slow times or hours — MyTime will encourage customers to book by offering a discount.
The service is free for merchants to get started, but if they elect to use some of MyTime’s premium services, like dynamic pricing or its advertising services, then MyTime will take a 40 percent cut of the revenue it generates from bookings that occur because of the advertisements.
“It’s a generous business model,” Anderson said. “If we are promoting them, only then do we keep the commission. If someone just finds them through the browse or search features, then we don’t charge them. It’s a freemium service.”
However, a majority of businesses do elect for MyTime to advertise on their behalf, he said.
It takes about a day for a company to get up and running and to connect its calendar to MyTime’s system. Merchants then get paid within one to seven days of a customer’s appointment.
The San Francisco-based company has 15 employees and plans to use the cash raised for salaries and sales and marketing. Anderson said they’ll expand to new markets slowly because the service requires a large number of merchants to be on board for it to work. He said if they don’t have a lot of appointments available for customers to choose from, it’s like a retailer being out of stock (in other words, it just doesn’t work).
Interestingly, MyTime didn’t pick San Francisco as its first market because “there are so many startups calling merchants here. Five years into the Groupon craze, and I really feel like they are jaded.”