Prose raises $5.2 million for custom shampoo – TechCrunch

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Whether your hair is straight, curly, color-treated or oily, the texture is unique. And a newly launched startup called Prose thinks your hair products should be, too.

Prose is working with hair salons and stylists to build custom formulations for clientele. They’ll not only take into account a person’s hair type but whether their city has pollution, wind or humidity. Prose will also work with customers who want their products to be Vegan or GMO-free.

The New York-based startup is raising $5.2 million to kick off its launch. The round is led by Forerunner Ventures, with participation from Correlation Ventures. Existing investors include Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Maveron, with its total capital raised amounting to $7 million.

CEO Arnaud Plas used to work at L’Oreal and said he “spent a lot of time… trying to understand deep pain points that we could fix.” He wants Prose “to make personalized hair care accessible.”

Kirsten Green, who invested in Prose through Forerunner Ventures, said that this fits here investment thesis of “micropersonalization.” She spoke of Prose’s “growing intelligence layer around machine learning,” which will help customize the items.

While competitors like Function of Beauty offer custom products based on an online quiz, Prose takes it one step further by getting stylists involved. Salons in San Francisco and New York have signed up to work with Prose, helping to design shampoos, conditioners and hair masks for their customers. The salons then take a 25% commission.

But it’s not cheap. Just 8.5 ounces of shampoo will cost between $28 and $38. The cost of personalization is expensive and the items are not yet priced for profitability.

Plas said he will use the funding for research and development. Prose manufactures the items in France.

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