Prose Raises $18 Million Series B Funding to Expand Custom Hair Care
NEW YORK, Nov. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Prose, a technology-powered beauty company, today announced the closing of an $18 million Series B financing round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from existing investors, Forerunner Ventures, ISAI, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Correlation Ventures, bringing its total funding to $25 million.
The custom hair care brand, which launched in January 2018, is already disrupting the $200b global beauty industry by completely rethinking the shopping experience and how products are made and distributed. "While we embrace the latest in modern technology, our mission at Prose is deeply rooted in the history of beauty and its one-to-one approach to making products," says co-founder & CEO Arnaud Plas. "The traditional FMCG model, based on consumer segmentation and upfront mass production is coming to an end. It generates frustration for customers and waste for the planet. What we're building is a modern beauty company for the new generation."
Currently one of the fastest growing hair care brands on the market, Prose continues to see double-digit growth month-over-month. To support the company's rapid growth, Prose is developing an automated customization infrastructure to be deployed mid-2019 in the company's newest facility, which opened in Brooklyn, New York three months ago. This new proprietary manufacturing system will have the capacity to customize up to 10,000 products per day enabling Prose to service more consumers than ever before.
Through their online consultation, Prose has collected half a million consumer profiles, all pulling in 135 data points each, including consumer selfies to train its computer vision algorithms. "Not only is Prose leading the charge in disrupting the industry, but by creating a fully-integrated software and supply chain infrastructure rooted on 1st party data, they are building a defensible model that will ensure they are always one step ahead," says Nicolas Wittenborn, Principal at Insight Venture Partners who will join Prose's board of directors. "We look forward to working with Prose to further increase their brand awareness and loyalty in the hair care market."
Prose will invest in an in-house data science team and plans to double its current R&D team in the next twelve months. "Our in-house teams of chemists and data engineers work together to train machine-learning algorithms," says co-founder and CTO Nicolas Mussat. "We're processing feedback from thousands of consumers, not only to improve their individual products, but also to train the overall algorithms for our community. This will help Prose reach unprecedented product satisfaction in the coming months." This is a huge departure from the current beauty industry where the typical product iteration process takes anywhere from three to five years of R&D.
"Prose is paving the way for change in the beauty industry with micro-personalization, and when you look at their growth and success over the past 12 months, it's clear that consumers were ready for that change," says Kirsten Green, Board Director and Founding Partner at Forerunner Ventures. Following the launch of the first-ever custom hair oil —which sold-out in only a few days—Prose will soon unveil new products and services for their clients. "Our mission is to help everyone achieve their dream hair, and that goes beyond our three-step hair care routine," says co-founder and VP Product Paul Michaux. "We want to bring the same holistic approach that we have during the consultation to all of the solutions that we're offering to our customers."
Prose is a custom hair care brand that offers consumers freshly-made products to meet their unique hair and scalp needs. Consumers take a holistic consultation about their hair type and texture, lifestyle habits, environmental exposure (pollution, UV, humidity, hard water and wind) and even diet and stress levels. Each custom formula also accounts for personal preferences, whether they are vegan, gluten or opt for fragrance-free, and is made-to-order in their NYC lab. Prose is available nationwide via prose.com and through select stylists.
About Insight Venture Partners
Insight Venture Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight currently has over $20 billion of assets under management and has cumulatively invested in more than 300 companies worldwide. Our mission is to find, fund, and work successfully with visionary executives, providing them with practical, hands-on growth expertise to foster long-term success. Across our people and our portfolio, we encourage a culture around a core belief: growth equals opportunity. For more information, visit insightpartners.com.
About Forerunner Ventures
Forerunner Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to partnering with ambitious entrepreneurs who are addressing the challenges and opportunities of today's changing commerce landscape. The San Francisco-based firm leverages a unique thesis-driven approach to investing by pairing extensive retail expertise and a deep knowledge of changing consumer behaviors with brand building and focus on customer experience to successfully identify strong leaders and guide them in their efforts to build disruptive and meaningful companies. Forerunner Ventures is the only VC firm to invest in both Dollar Shave Club and Jet.com, two of the biggest and highest-profile e-commerce exits in recent years, and includes Away, Birchbox, Bonobos, Glossier, Hotel Tonight, and Warby Parker among its growing list of portfolio companies. For more information, visit forerunnerventures.com.