Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant left their desks behind to create booking software for the nation’s 109,000 barbershops. Today, their fast-growing startup, Squire Technologies, is valued at some 60 times this year’s estimated sales and is featured on this year’s Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups.
Neither LaRon, a 37-year-old corporate lawyer, nor Salvant, who is 36 and worked in finance, had worked in a barbershop before — or run a small business of any sort. So, in 2016, they made a gutsy move: They spent $20,000 of the $60,000 of cash they had on hand to buy out the lease on an ailing barbershop in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. “That gave us a test kitchen to develop the software,” recalls Salvant, the company’s president. “This was a huge gamble.”