Another $1.7m funding for ‘convenience tech‘ as the digital industry rolls with the realisation that we only live for a few hundred months, so saving you time is saving you the most precious commodity that exists.
Part of the Uber-for-everything trend, Uber-for-massage Soothe has just scored $1.7m funding to grow its US on-demand at-home massage services from a team of investors including IDG Ventures, Walter Loewenstern and AngelList. Tap your screen and one of 1000 5-star rated professional therapists will ring at your door within an hour.
Soothe is no cheaper than a clinic or salon massage ($139 for 90 mins – deep tissue, sports, Swedish), but that’s not the point: Convenience tech makes things more convenient in today’s ‘Now Economy’ – it saves you time and effort. And in a busy world where schedules are ever-changing and where the only nice thing about deadlines is the whooshing sound they make as you miss them, massage that is ‘on-demand’ as opposed to ‘on-appointment’ makes real-world sense.
The psychology of Soothe is smart. When we buy something we always pay in three currencies – time, effort and money. On-demand businesses built on convenience tech like Soothe save time and effort, meaning that you ‘pay’ less for an identical product. In other words, Soothe makes intuitive economic sense to us because we look at costs not just as money, but time and effort too. More essentially, Soothe taps into the psychology of our minds that evolved to be efficient with time and effort (energy) long before money ever existed. That’s why we are wired for convenience and instant gratification, and why convenient instant gratification is, and always will be, a most irresistible value proposition.
The challenge for Soothe, and other Uber-style on-demand businesses built on convenience tech, is not psychology. The challenge will be to make the experience and numbers work. The risk is that the trend turns into a Groupon-style fad that fades as the experience fails to live up to expectations. Your clinic or appointment is not going to disappear, but your therapist could fail to appear. Likewise, therapists signing up to be part of the Soothe network may not realise the ‘hidden’ costs of ‘delivery’ – getting to clients. Like Groupon, perhaps the economic reality of Soothe may be less attractive than the promise…
Time will tell, but in a ‘Now Economy’ where instant gratification rules, betting on convenience tech makes sense. Forget the ‘C-word’ was that content last year and this plagued our feeds, digital’s new C-word is Convenience. This time people want it and will pay for it.