Jack Tang is CEO and Co-Founder of Urban, the mobile-wellness company, offering treatments from massages, to osteopathy, nails and facials in the comfort of your own home (…or office). As our newest wellness partners, Urban will be coming into Work.Life spaces each month to give free massages to our members, as well as offering exclusive discounts to home treatments. We thought we’d speak to Jack, the man behind this incredible brand, to find out more about him and his business.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what were you doing before you co-founded Urban?
Prior to Urban, I founded an online job board called The Student Job with my current co-founder / CTO Giles Williams. We founded the company whilst at university and at a time where student tuition fees were increasing. We wanted to utilise our skills and this opportunity to help students to find flexible work and gain valuable experience pre-graduation.
Where did the idea come from? How many employees were there at the beginning to get it off the ground?
Urban was founded as a result of my discovery of how unfairly wellness professionals were treated in the industry. Often professionals working in a brick and mortar would be self-employed and only take home 20% of the service price. The low share of economics is due to their inability to find customers, have CapEx to invest in a venue / equipment etc. We wanted to leverage the power of technology to flip the industry on its head and that was just the beginning…
We started off only with: myself, Giles (co-founder / CTO) and an apartment in Ealing Broadway in 2014. Soon there were 4 of us after securing our pre-seed round of £200,000 investment in 2015. Fast forward to 2019, we’re nearing 100 people across 3 offices (London, Paris and Vilnius).
What’s a typical day at work for Urban’s CEO?
There’s no such thing as a typical day and my role has evolved rapidly over the years. Today, with a strong senior leadership team, my responsibilities are 3 things: 1) setting clear vision and goals for a mid-long-term horizon; 2) building investor relationships / funding; 3) people – ensuring we hire great people and cultural alignment across the organisation.
Huge congratulations on your new funding! Would you call yourselves a start up? At which stage would you say that changes for a company?
Thank you! We’re super pleased, especially with our latest partnership with ADV (a patient capital engine). We still call ourselves as a start-up, the term is just to represent the way we work at Urban. I want us to maintain our start-up mentality as we continue. Structure and process is important to ensure people are not lost and things operate smoothly – but it’s critical to have well considered processes to make sure it doesn’t become red tape. I think the terms just reflects the mindset, I think Facebook still call themselves a start-up…
Do you think that taking care of your wellness in other ways, such as having a massage, is as important as exercising and eating well?
In short, yes. We believe wellness comes in many different forms, really, it’s about being in a state of happiness and feeling great about yourself (mentally and physically). We also believe that when you feel at your best-self, you can achieve amazing things in life be it work or your relationships.
At Urban, we’re expanding our wellness services to reflect our belief, you can currently find 4 services: massages, nails, facials and osteopathy. By the end of this year, you can come to Urban as a one-stop-shop for all your wellness needs.
Eating healthily and regularly exercising is one way to achieve happiness and feeling great, massage, beauty confidence and being aligned with an osteopath are other means to the same end goal.
Why should Work.Life members make the most of our brand-new partnership and book an appointment with Urban?
We all live hectic lives, living in a great city like London offers so much. We believe that being at your best self will allow you to enjoy every moment of London life even more.
We take a proactive approach to wellbeing and hence our brand essence being “The Power of Well”. Wellness provides you the power to unlock your full potential.
Our partnership with Work.life is all about reminding us to fit in moments of wellness, taking a moment for yourself is something we all should do. Particularly we spend over half of our lives in a workplace! It’s only good business to ensure our workplace community gets the support they need and channel that back into great business outcome.
We’re very excited to partner with Work.life, particularly the mindset and alignment in our joint beliefs.
Favourite thing about working at Urban?
Hard question for me to answer, but we strive to offer a workplace that champions the power of well and this circular mindset of being well = happiness = great outcome. We have a culture that provides great ownership and responsibilities, we attract people who love to jump in the deep end and achieve great results personally and professionally.
Of course, we all have great fun! I always say that everyday shouldn’t feel like you’re coming into work, it should give you that feeling of working on your favourite school / university project every day.
Many of our Work.Life members are still in the early stages of their business, what’s a piece of advice you’d give them to take on board as they grow?
Your early stage of your business is critical from taking an idea to a successful venture. The driving force is not ideas, but people. You need to be overly selective over who you work with, ensure there’s 100% alignment and you need to make tough decisions fast. Be generous with sharing the upside of the business, because having a big piece of a pie of nothing, is worth considerably less than a smaller piece of a huge pie.
Forgive us for the cliché but where do you see Urban in 5 years?
In 2019, we’re focused on delivering on our promise to offer a one-stop-shop for wellness services. The Urban brand and our purpose extend far beyond just offering physical wellness services. We want to become true partners for our customers, practitioners and brands we work with. In 5 years, we would have covered a lot of ground, particularly in: offering services beyond physical, taking the Urban mission into other geographies and striving to help millions of people during that time.
Thanks for letting us chat to you today, and now for the quick-fire round we ask all our interviewees…
Morning person or night owl? – night owl but can flip to morning if I need to
Favourite film: This is a hard one because I like choice, but my favourites are in comedy and crime
Summer or winter? Summer 100%
Sweet or savoury? Savoury
Cats or dogs? I have a cat, but I like dogs too
City break or beach holiday? Beach
Last meal before being jetted off to a desert island? An endless bowl of pasta
Work.Life is proud to announce Urban as its newest wellness partner. Once signing up, all Work.Life members will have access to free monthly massages! If you’re a Work.Life member and are interested in signing up, please speak to one of our wonderful Membership team who’ll be able to get you booked in.