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Published May 22, 2018
Published May 22, 2018

Mented follows $1 million in pre-seed funding by a new round of $3MM in series seed from lead investor CircleUp Growth Partners, which focuses on early-stage consumer brands.

WHO: Mented (short for “pigmented”) Cosmetics was founded by Harvard Business School classmates Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller. The brand started taking pre-orders for their first products in January 2017 but officially launched in March. Mented is a range of nude lipsticks that is vegan, nontoxic, and formulated especially for women of color. The brand plans to expand into a full range of color cosmetics.

Focused on investing in visionary founders, CircleUp Growth Partners leverages CircleUp’s proprietary technology asset, Helio, to identify innovative brands with differentiated products and provides entrepreneurs with a unique set of resources and actionable, data-driven insights to propel their businesses forward. CircleUp has a proven track record of identifying emerging brands and their current investments in beauty and wellness including HUM Nutrition, Supergoop, and Kosås.

WHY: The funding will fund product development and a new consumer insights analyst, a marketing manager, and an operations & customer service lead.


  • Mented raised a $3 million seed round from lead investor CircleUp Growth Partners.
  • The cofounders told Forbes that their 3-month run rate is currently three times their 2017 sales, with organic marketing channels accounting for 70% of sales in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Mented raised a pre-seed $1MM round of funding that came from a mix of VC firms and angel investors including iSeed Ventures; Built by Girls; Corazon Capital; Outbound Ventures; BAM Ventures; and Blue Seed Collective in October of 2017.
  • In March 2017, the founders started the business with $10,000-$15,000 of their own money and hand-making samples.
  • After testing their products they realized the potential of Mented, and were able to subsequently raise a pre-seed round of capital totaling $400,000.
  • The founders of Mented Cosmetics are the 15th and 16th black women ever to raise $1MM in capital.

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