There’s more to diversity than meets the eye and vegan hair extension company, Rebundle is proof of that. However, what is just as important is the team that is willing to invest in the vision of Black founders, providing them with the tools needed to not only survive but also to thrive.
M25 is the early-stage venture firm dedicated to supporting startups located in the Midwest, providing them with the tools needed to not only survive but thrive within an industry that was not built with them in mind.
“Supporting women founders is important everywhere, regardless of the region, but I do think we have an amazing opportunity in regions like the Midwest,” said M25 VC Partner Mike Asem in an email interview with AfroTech. “As many point out that ecosystems like the Bay Area have matured whereas ecosystems like the Midwest are still emerging, maturing, etc. We have a unique opportunity to write diversity into our ecosystem’s entrepreneurial DNA better, and earlier, than more mature ones who’ve waited too long to make sure that was part of their story.”
One particular startup that caught the eye of the firm is Rebundle, a hair extensions brand that uses non-toxic and biodegradable hair to address the health and environmental discrepancies faced within the industry.
As previously reported by AfroTech, Rebundle was founded by Ciara Imani May and Danielle Washington. It’s a hair startup that manufactures and sells nontoxic and biodegradable hair extensions. Their mission to create a more sustainable way to get your hair done is what drew in the support of an investor like M25.
“With any company we look at, we start with the team, and the same is absolutely true about Rebundle. When we met the company, it was clear to us that Ciara Imani May and Danielle Washington were special, and these women had what it took to build a category-defining company,” Asem recalled. “Their approach to serve an underserved community, and the response they were getting and continue to get from their audience was undeniable.”
In its first-ever diversity report, M25 was able to gather input from the perspective of startups in the Midwest region and determined that about 50 percent of its current fund serves Black, LatinX, and women founders.
A Better Future
With Black founders, specifically Black women being severely underrepresented when it comes to funding and resources needed to scale their business, it is only right when a fund like M25 comes around to take advantage.
“As a first-time founder raising VC funding, M25 remained approachable and straightforward throughout the diligence process,” said Ciara Imani May, co-founder, and CEO of Rebundle. “In addition, it was rewarding to have a Black woman internally at M25 who not only understood our product but was willing to try it and advocate on our behalf, which increased our trust in M25.”
Click here for the full report.