On-demand massage provider Zeel Networks has closed $10 million of a $12 million Series A round, WSJ is reporting. Emil Capital Partners led the round, with participation from Slow Ventures, Partech Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures and Spafinder.
Zeel launched in 2010 with the idea to become a ZocDoc for alternative medicine. After noticing that half the bookings it received were for massages, the business model was changed. They also observed that more than 50 percent of the bookings were for massages in the next four hours.
The company also thought it could get the best therapists if it could provide them a feeling of security. In that sense, the app requires customers to prove their true identity using a social security number or a scan of a government-issued ID. According to Zeel Chief Executive Samer Hamadeh, this discourages bad behavior among clients.
Another unique thing about Zeel is that it shows customers know how much of the amount they paid actually goes to the therapist. Mr. Hamadeh argues this information encourages customer loyalty because they know the therapists are paid well on the platform.
Zeel offers services in more than 20 cities across the U.S. To date, the company has raised $13.2 million.