LA’s hottest start-ups: Soothe

Virgin Atlantic’s Business is an Adventure event series touches down in LA this month, with the aim of discovering how great business ideas can become a success on the global stage. Appearing at the event alongside Richard Branson will be some of the city's most interesting start-ups...

Soothe is currently the largest massage provider in Los Angeles, and has plans to be in every major city in the US within 24 months. As they'll be popping up at the event to provide the hardworking entrepreneurs in attendance with massages, we thought we'd find a bit more about their story.

LA start-upSoothe

Founder: Merlin Kauffman

USP: Soothe empowers you to relax on your own schedule at your own home, while helping the best massage therapists earn extra income. 

Here we ask Merlin Kauffman to tell us a little more about Soothe and what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur in Los Angeles.

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Has the success of Soothe been down to its location, or do you believe it's the type of business that has a universal appeal?

It’s a little bit of both. Obviously, opening in highly populated metropolitan cities has been conducive to servicing more people (and this includes clients and massage therapists alike), but we’re finding more and more that massage is becoming mainstream. 

Only a couple of years ago, people would hear "massage" and think of it as a treat, an indulgence reserved for once or twice a year. But Soothe is leveraging the on-demand economy’s accessibility of one-time rarefied services to change this perception of massage. There are so many different types of massage beneficial to everyone, and we’re helping individuals discover this. 

You're soon rolling out to every major US city - what have you earmarked as the main obstacles you'll have to overcome?

Tactically and logistically, not many! We’ve opened in 20 cities since launch, so the operational aspect is a well-oiled machine. A different sort of obstacle we’ve encountered, however, is "de-luxuriating" massage, if you will. While there’s definitely been a change in attitude toward massage as a means to tend wellbeing, we’ve still got a ways to go before this mentality is adopted large scale.

We’ll get there, though! Slowly but surely as we continue to expand and open in cities across the country and abroad. 

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What one tip would you give to an entrepreneur aiming to expand their business onto a national or global stage?

Invest in your team. Having an experienced, capable staff to ensure your business’s success is invaluable, because your company won’t have a shot at surviving in the long term unless it starts of strong. 

What are the pros and cons of starting up in LA?

LA is an incredible city with amazing technical and entrepreneurial talent. It also doesn’t hurt that LA natives are known for being especially diligent about their health and wellness routine, so there wasn’t much persuading required in explaining the value of Soothe’s services. 

What sort of businesses work well in LA?

If you are talking B2C specifically, the same sort of businesses you would find in any major city: those that offer convenience, efficiency and seamlessly blend the old with the new when solving a problem.

The first Business is an Adventure event, featuring Richard Branson and a panel of prominent LA business leaders, takes place in Los Angeles on February 18th. The event will be available to stream for free on virgin.com from 16:00 (PST).

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