After raising $5 million in funding, Parfait is on its way to disrupting the wig industry with the help of technology.
The women-led startup is said to be the first to integrate facial recognition and artificial intelligence to provide buyers with customizable wig products. According to a press release sent to AfroTech, the seed round was spearheaded by Upfront Ventures and Serena Ventures. Ulu Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Contrary Capital, Visible Hands, TRUE Capital’s Culture Fund, Omar Johnson, Chamillionaire, Tristan Walker, and Upland Workshop participated in the round.
“Parfait’s mission to leverage Al to solve core issues for both the tech industry and communities of color is something we, at Serena Ventures, have believed in since the beginning,” said Serena Williams, Managing Partner at Serena Ventures, in a statement. “She went on to say “It’s been inspiring to witness their incredible achievements so far, and we’re proud to invest in this next phase of Parfait’s growth.”
This new funding will bolster Parfait’s production capacity. It will also automate its supply chain capabilities to enter new markets domestically and internationally. In addition, Parfait’s mission to place inclusion at the forefront will be further supported so that all women and communities can have a beauty experience that meets their hair goals.
“It’s widely understood that facial recognition systems perform less well for women and people of color. Training models used in facial recognition technology are largely unbalanced, often relying on training datasets that are similar in makeup, and do not represent the visual composition of faces worldwide. This often results in poor performance for users who do not fit into that dataset, often represented by white faces and male features,” said Parfait founder and former Target and Amazon executive Isoken Igbinedion.
She continued: “Parfait seeks to be the first to make major progress in improving product and service outcomes for marginalized communities, starting by building technology designed to serve women and people of color. “
AfroTech Conference Plants A Solution
Parfait will be hopeful for many Black women as technological bias often leads to a frustrating and long-fought beauty experience. This was the case for Isoken who experienced a hair loss after a chemical relaxer at the age of 10. She soon started her journey towards healthier hair but experienced troubles with stylists, and online wig companies while funneling dollars down the drains searching for hair and wig products. It was not until attending AfroTech 2019, that Isoken realized technology could be a solution to address this prevalent beauty issue for so many within the Black community.
Combining her brains alongside her sister and MIT PhD student Ifueko Igbinedion, the duo spent countless hours researching issues surrounding the buying experience and supply chain. The research exposed two critical points which needed to be addressed: skin tone palette and head circumference.
Parfait Plans To Become Fully Automated Manufacturing Pipeline
Led by its finding, Parfait will help millions of Black women save on unwarranted spending on unable products through its wig customization platform backed by computer vision. The technology detects head measurements and skin tones with only four images.
In addition, customers will have the ability to select and tailor features of highest priority such as texture, length, and style to match them with hairstylists who will answer any burning questions.
What’s more, customers do not have to wait long to secure their new hair offerings. Within five to seven business day wig and hair extensions will be delivered. The impressive feat serves as affirmation Parfait will one day achieve its milestone to become a fully automated manufacturing pipeline.