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Upgrade Announces $1 Million Seed Extension

May 4, 2022
May 4, 2022
Upgrade

Upgrade announced a $1 million seed extension to power marketplace and B2B expansion.

WHO: Upgrade was founded in 2019 by Britney Winters with the mission to democratize the wig and hair extensions industry. It is a first-to-market, tech-enabled marketplace that offers customized wigs and hair products. The brand uses a seamless and comprehensive digital experience designed to empower women to "live a less tangled life" by modernizing the hair styling and wig experience for consumers and stylists alike.

The new funding comes as Upgrade is debuting a monthly subscription service that will assist in marketing handcrafted wigs, curated beauty products, and other digital products and services for its stylist subscribers. The custom-built subscription infrastructure was intentionally built by Winters to empower stylists with the tools to manage orders on one platform. Direct messaging with shoppers, one-click shipping capabilities, and data insights and analytics will be offered at launch, in addition to safe checkout, payment protection, BNPL options, and access to customer ratings. As part of its continued growth, Upgrade will later offer micro-loans to its subscribers to provide much-needed capital for stylists to invest in inventory and fund growth and expansion opportunities.

WHY: Looking ahead, Upgrade will continue to evolve its platform to empower its creatives with the resources to operate more efficiently while also equipping users with the funds and professional acumen that is critical to running their own business.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "Through my own personal experience as a woman of color, I brought Upgrade to market as a solution to the broken experience of marketing and selling custom wigs," said Britney Winters, CEO and founder of Upgrade. "I understand the tensions of funding and operating a company, which is why it's critical for Upgrade to offer stylists the financial tools and services to grow their businesses and empower them economically."

"We continue to be excited about Britney's vision for the Upgrade platform and the opportunity to help stylists deliver an enhanced experience to their clients," says Samantha Lewis, Principal at Mercury. "Upgrade is truly transforming the beauty industry, and we feel fortunate for our ongoing partnership."

"Britney is a master of launching and sustainably growing a business, and has long been driven by supporting others to independently do the same. This next-level offering is the answer for Upgrade's current and new stylists seeking to 'upgrade' their own independent businesses, and customers who will now be welcomed with even more options when it comes to expecting and receiving the best," shared Anya Hayden, ANIM General Partner. "We're thrilled for the Upgrade team and community in this continued path to untangling the beauty industry."

DETAILS:

  • Upgrade announced a $1 million seed extension. The funding was supported by initial seed leads The Artemis Fund and Mercury Fund, Bracken P. Darrell, and ANIM.
  • This funding round brings the total raised to date by the business to $3 million. 
  • The brand closed $1.7 million in a seed funding round co-led by Mercury Fund and The Artemis Fund with participation by Next Coast Ventures in July 2021. The seed investors joined existing investor Stray Dog, a Founders Fund investment vehicle led by Anya Hayden.
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