We proud to announce we did what felt impossible. We've raised $1.2m to grow Afrocenchix!
You might be wondering why we raised investment? I'll give you some context. The Afro haircare market is valued at over $42B, and it’s growing fast. But many of the big players are out of touch with customers like us.
Research shows 7 in 10 Black women don’t feel their needs are met on the high street, yet this same group spends 6x more on haircare and cosmetics than other groups.
Despite the increasing need for these products, 78% of products for Afro hair contain toxic ingredients linked to cancer, fibroids and respiratory issues. Products targeted at Black women have also been shown to routinely use highly hazardous ingredients and a five year study showed connections between afro hair products and serious health concerns such as dermatitis, eye irritations and reproductive problems.
Joycelyn and I suffered from alopecia, hair breakage, eczema and low confidence. In finding solutions to our own problems back in 2009, we created Afrocenchix for people like us.
Founders Joycelyn Mate & Rachael Twumasi-Corson. Credit: Kiran Gidda for The Stack World
Who Did We Raise Investment From?
We’ve also attracted the investment of angels, including Nalden, the founder of WeTransfer, and VCs including Backed VC, Cornerstone Partners and lead investors, Impact X. We're super excited to have angel investors from within our community, such as Nicole Crentsil, Founder & CEO of Black Girl Fest, as we believe it's important that our investors reflect our customers and understand your needs.
Having sold over 65,000 bottles of safe, effective hair products, we'll be using the funds to launch 3 new products, spread the word about Afrocenchix and hiring to expand our team.
We're also using our extensive data sets and content library to build tech for the Afrocenchix community, after the successful beta launch of M'xche, the Afrocenchix chatbot, something we've dreamt of since we mixed our first formulation at university in 2009.
Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Startups UK, says:
“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’s and Joycelyn’s vision to make a successful, data-driven business while delivering much needed safe and responsibly made hair care products that everyone deserves, and we’re excited to see their business grow further.”
Daisy Onubogu, Head of Network and Community at BACKED VC, says:
“On a personal level, Afrocenchix is the first hair product company I trust, full stop. After a lifetime of being underserved and downright gaslit on this front, that is no small thing. I have quite literally been waiting for a company like this for so long, so to also have an opportunity to be a part of their journey is almost more satisfying than I can say. There’s an empire to be built here because the need is as deep as it is widely felt, and Rachael and Joycelyn were made to do it and to do it right. That’s why we BACKED them.”
What Does This Mean For You?
Afrocenchix is still owned and operated by the same people. We used SAFE agreements to raise investment which mean that next time we raise money, our investors will receive shares, the total will be under 10% of the company. Your health and wellbeing is still first, and we will always look after our team and community and put people before profits. Raising investment allows us to:
- Release new products (maintaining and improving our ethical supply chain) to meet your styling needs
- Increase accessibility by selling into more stores so it's easier for you to top up on your faves
- Hire more afro hair fanatics so you get faster customer care
Do let us know if you have any questions! Thank you for your support along the journey so far, it means the world.
xoxo - Rachael