Ceci Kurzman has spent much of her career building and investing in brands and serving as one of the few Black female board members for companies, including Lanvin, Revlon and Warner Music+.
While investing on behalf of some clients interested in beauty and personal care, Kurzman saw a gap in what kinds of products were available for multicultural groups and decided to do something about it.
“I started looking for sort of a best-in-class, high-performance business that was direct-to-consumer and used all the business model innovations that were table stakes at that point, like e-commerce, personalization, clean, data driven, inclusive and sustainable, and I couldn’t find anything even close,” Kurzman told TechCrunch. “When I couldn’t find something to invest in, I went out and put together groups who targeted a demographic that was professional millennial, avid consumers, and we polled 30,000 of them, and we found 60% weren’t getting what they wanted and still felt stuck.”
Out of that research came OurX, the latest company entering the Black hair care industry, currently valued at $2.51 billion. The company’s proprietary technology taps into six years of research and data mining to create hair regimens and education for the scalp and tightly textured hair.
The first step is to take the four-step hair assessment that asks about your hair’s health, the kind of styling and treatments you do, your daily routine and your lifestyle. At the end, it presents a regimen of products, a hair coach and peer community to best help you utilize the products. It also includes a series of guided at-home video-based tests to provide an even-more accurate read on their hair and scalp attributes. Throughout the entire assessment experience, users receive feedback and educational tips based on the inputs they provide.
OurX has seven products currently, and the average regimen of products offered is between $115 and $130. One-on-one access to hair coaches is available through a subscription.
The product regimen is influenced by a group of experts, including dermatologist Jenna Lester, celebrity hair stylist Johnny Wright and hairstylist Cataanda James.
Along with the launch, OurX announced that it has a new CEO, Meghan Maupin. Maupin, an MIT graduate, previously founded personalized skincare brand, Atolla, which was acquired by Function of Beauty in 2021.
“When I dove deeper into haircare, I saw that there’s actually a huge need for personalization, for this consumer in particular,” Maupin said in an interview. “For consumers with textured hair it’s not one-size-fits-all, but is actually much more complex in terms of what’s needed for the day-in and day-out.”
Like Kurzman, Maupin went into the beauty industry to change things, noting that she saw “a lot of things in beauty that were broken,” and with her background in data and technology, knew that she could fix some of those issues.
Meanwhile, OurX also launched with a $2.5 million seed round led by Reign Ventures.
“We were very intentional to have a diverse cap table so to be able to pick and design our cap table was really important,” Kurzman said. “We wanted investors who understood the mission, understood the need and understood the market. We’re lucky that we’ve been able to fund this round primarily with women and women of color, and there’s some allies in there, too.”