I am pleased to share with you that today we announced new financing that will drive the next wave of growth for RealSelf. We raised $40 million with the backing of marquee investors (the full press release can be found here). The round was led by Elephant Partners LP with participation from one of the world’s largest institutional investment managers. Andy Hunt is a general partner at Elephant, and is a proven entrepreneur, who co-founded the innovative eyewear firm Warby Parker in 2010. Andy will join the RealSelf board of directors, which was recently expanded to include the Chief Operating Officer of Uber, Barney Harford.
With these new funds we will accelerate our growth, both in terms of brand awareness and product experience. I anticipate that the new financing will most directly benefit you and your practices in 3 key areas: marketing, connections, and innovation.
Marketing: accelerate awareness, traffic growth, and education
Last week we announced the hiring of our first Chief Marketing Officer – Tanja Omeze. Tanja most recently headed marketing for Amazon Video Store and has terrific experience leading marketing programs that have driven awareness and growth for many recognizable brands, including Weight Watchers, Verizon Wireless, and Scholastic. Tanja’s building up an amazing team that will drive significant growth in the RealSelf audience. As you may have noted, we’ve already seen our Instagram account grow faster than any other entity in aesthetics. With greater exposure, audience, and engagement you will benefit. As we engage and educate more consumers, we will simultaneously boost the visibility of doctors and practices with strong profiles on our site.
Tanja will be attending ASAPS next week, and I encourage you to stop by our booth to meet her. As she is getting up to speed on the business and industry, I know she will appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Strengthen connections: make it easier for both practices and consumers to get matched
When I speak with my team I continuously emphasize that we need to make it easier for practices to secure new consultations. And this isn’t just because it helps a practice boost revenue. It’s also good for consumers who can get expert advice and insights when going offline and having an in-person meeting with a qualified medical professional. From us you can expect to see new technologies and resources designed to facilitate connections with high-intent consumers that also help streamline the transitions from online interest to offline appointments. This will involve building upon the clicks and impressions-based model to focus on enhanced two-way connections that result in increased booking potential. This is an area we know is important to you and it is a top priority for us.
Innovation: Unlock new ways to bring delight to our customers
In Jeff Bezos’ recent annual letter to Amazon shareholders in which he said: “…customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”
Our new financing will allow us to accelerate our pace of innovation, specifically in our product and services designed to help you run a better practice and reduce the challenge of managing a strong digital presence. You should already be seeing evidence of this investment in new the form of enhancements to your dashboard, with more innovation on the horizon. In fact, we will soon be piloting a new Concierge service using a combination of new technology and personalized human touch to help consumers book appointments. Going forward, expect to hear more about both ongoing experiments and new launches.
RealSelf is entering a new stage of growth. We wouldn’t have reached this milestone without your support and feedback provided to me and my team all along this journey. I have never been more excited about our shared prospects as I am right now. I look forward to continuing to work together and share in each other’s success.
RealSelf on the Road
- Aesthetic Innovation Summit, April 24
- ASAPS, April 25-28
- Vegas Cosmetic Surgery, June 6-10