Indianapolis-based tech company Woven Brands, which had been self-funded since its 2017 launch, has raised its first outside funding—a $1.5 million seed investment from one of its customers.
Woven Brands offers a software platform that helps multi-unit business owners and franchisees more easily manage their employees and operations.
More than 35% of Planet Fitness gym locations use Woven Brands, as do all Massage Heights and Zips Car Wash locations. Other customers represent brands such as Pet Supplies Plus and Great Clips.
Based in Broad Ripple, Woven Brands currently has 11 employees, with projected 2022 revenue “well into the seven figures,” said founder and CEO Matt Goebel.
Purely through word-of-mouth referrals and expansion from existing customers, Woven Brands has seen huge growth to date, Goebel said. But growth began to slow down this year, and the company realized that to continue growing it needed to start investing in sales and marketing.
It landed $1.5 million in seed funding from customer Glow Brands, an operator whose brands include Planet Fitness, Sun Tan City and Buff City Soap. Glow Brands uses Woven Brands technology at 240 of its various brand locations.
The funding round closed at the end of September but was not announced by Woven Brands until this week. The company has already hired its first three sales and marketing employees, Goebel said, and will likely do more hiring next year.
The idea for Woven Brands came from Goebel’s time at a previous company he founded, the IT consulting firm LumArc Custom Solutions. Over time, he said, franchisors and franchisees became a larger and larger part of LumArc’s business.
Then, in 2016, his wife Cristina became a local franchisee with Massage Heights. She currently owns three Massage Heights locations in Carmel, Fishers and Indianapolis.
Through his wife’s experience, Goebel said he saw how difficult it can be for franchisees to manage their businesses. A franchisee might use a variety of tools, ranging from a paper manual at the store to a host of different websites, to handle basic tasks like creating work schedules, communicating with employees and filing paperwork. Things get even more complex for business owners who are operating multiple locations.
“It’s too many logins, too many interfaces,” Goebel said. Woven Brands creates one place where customers can get all of these things done.
In a written statement, Glow Brands Chief Financial Officer John Piwetz said Woven Brands has helped his company save more than $1 million worth of managerial time that had previously been spent on manual or redundant tasks. “Partnering with a company that has so quickly provided this level of value to us—and many in the franchising world at large—was a no-brainer,” Piwetz said.