Debenhams invests $10m into on-demand beauty services start-up blow LTD.

As a result of the deal, which now sees the retail giant control a minority stake, Seedrs shareholders have been offered the opportunity to sell shares

blow LTD., the on-demand beauty services start-up, has raised $10m (£7.5m) in its latest funding round after being backed by retail giant Debenhams.

The deal, which will start an “exclusive UK partnership” between Debenhams and blow, will help the retailer accelerate its presence in the £4bn beauty services market as well as giving it a minority stake in blow LTD. and a place on its board.

Enabling users to order beauty and wellbeing services to their home, hotel or office, the start-up also runs two beauty bars in Covent Garden and Canary Wharf.

Creating a new distribution channel for its department store, Debenhams will now also use blow LTD.’s tech to offer its consumers beauty services and treatments both in-store at its dedicated beauty bars, as well as in their homes.

Three blow LTD. beauty bars, offering blow dry, make up and nail services, will also launch in Debenhams’ Oxford Street, Birmingham Bull Ring and Manchester stores this Autumn, with more sites following shortly.

Co-founded by Dharmash Mistry and Fiona McIntosh and launched in 2013, the latter is the former editor in chief of Grazia and Elle magazines and has featured in our Inspiring Women series.

Last November, the on-demand app acquired mobile beauty business Return To Glory and expanded its range of services to include waxing, massage, pilates, and yoga.

Having raised £1.3m from over 300 investors via equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs in June 2016 with a further follow on round in February 2017, Seedrs shareholders have now been offered the opportunity to sell shares as part of a secondary share deal.

This means that some early Seedrs investors will have the opportunity to their sell shares at up to three times their purchase share price.

However, the majority of blow LTD. shareholders on Seedrs have yet to ‘cash in’, suggesting an ever larger raise could be imminent.

Dharmash Mistry, chairman and co-founder of blow LTD., said:

“Our partnership with Debenhams will turbo charge growth and awareness of blow LTD. by accessing the vibrant and loyal customer base of a UK market leader.

“This move accelerates our ambition to bring expert beauty services to customers in key regional cities across the UK, either in their homes or in Debenhams stores. We are excited to join forces with Debenhams to reinvent the fragmented, multi-billion pound beauty services market.”

Sergio Bucher, CEO of Debenhams, said:

“I am excited to announce our partnership with blow LTD. The step is a strategic move which ties into multiple facets of our Debenhams Redesigned strategy.

“This will allow us to scale up our beauty services offer rapidly and bring brands closer to customers both in store and in their own homes.

“Blow LTD.’s exclusive presence in Debenhams stores will give customers even more reasons to visit us and the digital app booking service fits with our aim to offer customers a seamless mobile experience.

“Through partnering with blow LTD. Debenhams can adopt an entrepreneurial approach to a growing market, acquiring external expertise with flexibility and low overhead commitments.”

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