UK-based Black-owned haircare business Afrocenchix secured $1.2 million in seed funding from Google.
WHO: Rachel Twumasi-Corson and Joycelyn Mate met at university and suffered from alopecia, hair breakage, eczema, and low confidence, so decided to make their own natural products free from toxins, fair trade, and vegan. Founded in 2010, Afrocenchix offers a range of haircare products targeting afro, coily, and curly hair. The products are sold in 27 countries with 70% of their sales coming from word-of-mouth recommendations.
WHY: The business will use the funds to release three new products and expand their team.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Co-founder Rachael Twumasi-Corson told UCL News, "After years of struggling with our own hair related problems and the challenges of bootstrapping, we're delighted to close this round with so much support from Google, our investors and our customers, with some of our angel investors coming straight from the Afrocenchix community. This round is the next step towards establishing Afrocenchix as the number one brand for afro and curly hair, so we can give our customers and community the safe, effective products they need for optimum health and wellbeing. When we registered the company in 2010, we wouldn't have dreamt that a tech giant like Google would know who we were or care enough about our mission to back us."
Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, said, "Everyone talks about founder-market fit and I don't think there's a better example than two friends seeing a problem, studying it, building a business for people like them and winning the market thanks to their impeccable attention to detail, commitment to quality and a loyal, tight knit community of customers. We've been so impressed by Rachael and Joycelyn's vision to make a successful data-driven business while delivering much needed safe and responsibly made haircare products that everyone deserves, and we're excited to see their business grow further."
- Afrocenchix closed a $1.2 million seed round of funding backed by Google for a total of $1.3 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Additional investors included Backstage Capital, Community Growth Ventures, Cornerstone Ventures, and Impact X Capital Partners.
- In 2018 the brand won a WeWork Creator Award and received $350,000 of investment at a regional competition in London.
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