Hair Extension Platform Mayvenn Raises $23M, Plans To Expand Into Hair Styling

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Mayvenn, a seller of hair products that rose to fame offering virgin hair extensions online, plans to expand and change the game with a new value proposition, thanks to a $23 million funding infusion.

About 95 percent of hair extensions used in salons are bought by customers online or at retail stores, then taken to hair stylists who provide braiding service, according to Diishan Imira, CEO and co-founder of Oakland, Calif.-based Mayvenn.

Hair extensions are expensive. Customers can spend $250 for the hair and another $250 for the installation service.

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With a new $23 million funding round led by Richelieu Dennis, Mayvenn plans to market to customers and stylists with new package deals that combine hair sales with styling services from stylists within the network. The installation service will be “free” according to Mayvenn. Customers will be able to buy hair and the installation “for probably 40% less than what they normally would have paid,” Imira said, according to Techcrunch.

“Paying to have your hair installed is a thing of the past,” Mayvenn said on its website. “Buy 3 bundles or more, and we’ll pair you with a top-quality, Mayvenn certified stylist in your area who will do your hair—compliments of Mayvenn. Yes, really.”

The founder of Sundial Brands, Dennis started Essence Ventures as an investment fund to raise money for Black-owned businesses, Black Enterprise reported. The new financing represents the first outside investment by Dennis’ holding company.

Other participating investors in the Series B round, announced Nov. 7, include Impact America Fund and Cross Culture Ventures. Mayvenn completed a $10 million Series A funding round in 2015 led by Andreessen Horowitz. Previous investors include Cross Culture Ventures, Trinity Ventures, and celebrities such as Serena Williams, Andre Iguodala, and Jimmy Iovine. Mayvenn’s overall growth capital is $36 million, including $3 million in seed funding raised in 2013.

Mayvenn

Dennis sold SunDial brands — his skin and haircare product line — to Unilever for about $1 billion, Techcrunch reported. He used that exit to buy Essence magazine from Time Inc., created Essence Ventures, and is working to create a media and investment powerhouse.

Mayvenn was co-founded by Imira and COO Taylor Wang in 2014. Since then, they’ve sold $80 million in hair extensions made from virgin human hair from India, Forbes reported. (It’s “virgin” because it’s chemically unprocessed.) They did it by partnering with hair stylists whose businesses rely on directing customers to buy the hair from Mayvenn. Mayvenn says it has paid out more than $20 million in commissions to hairstylists.

Mayvenn “essentially recruits stylists as salespeople by building them websites, offering online support and a 15-percent cut of each sale, as well as sales incentives like store credit. About 70 percent of revenue, Imira says, comes through Mayvenn’s network of about 40,000 stylists, the rest from direct-to-consumer,” Forbes reported.

Black women buy $9 billion worth of hair products and they’re buying it from corner stores, but 90 percent of those are owned by people outside the community,” Imira said, according to Tech Crunch. “All of those dollars flow out of the community and nobody is getting a piece.”

With its new offering, Mayvenn will give more money back to consumers, get more money to stylists and cutting out the middleman.