As a founding partner of Serena Ventures, tennis champion and businesswoman Serena Williams recently backed a Black women-led startup implementing facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence to provide consumers with customizable wigs.
Spearheaded by Serena Ventures and Upfront Ventures, Parfait has raised $5 million in seed funding, Afrotech reports.
Other investors in the wig company included Ulu Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Contrary Capital, Visible Hands, TRUE Capital’s Culture Fund, Omar Johnson, Chamillionaire, Tristan Walker and Upland Workshop.
Parfait’s roster of high-ranking officials and co-founders are CEO Isoken Igbinedion and her sister CTO Ifueko Igbinedion, alongside COO Marlyse Reeves and CMO Simone Kendle.
“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,” Williams said in a statement.
“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,” the Olympian added.
Meeting at the intersection of advanced technology and the wig industry, Parfait was developed to make the buying process of human hair units more tailored to consumer needs and lessen the amount of technological biases people of color are often subjected to.
In addition to shoppers being able to choose the texture, length and style of units that will have the hairlines plucked and tinted, Parfait’s technology “detects head measurements and skin tones with only four images,” according to Afrotech.
Parfait also offers 1-on-1 consultations to provide additional support to its consumers, including those who’ve experienced hair loss due to cancer or alopecia.
The company’s seed funding will increase its production and automate its supply chain to better establish it as a competitor in the wig and hair extension market, Fast Company details.
“I think it’s hard to ever say that any AI is going to be perfect,” the company’s CTO told the outlet. “And so we are really focused on having that human interaction within the loop, such that we do have an accurate prediction.”
“We can expand [our technology] to all other types of beauty or fashion problems where existing data sets are not getting your lip shape features, or your cheekbone features, or your ear shapes,” Reeves added. “We have found solutions to some of these problems, and I think we’ll continue to find solutions to some of these problems. And I hope it can be an example that if you just change your thinking, apply more diversity to the data that you’re using, solutions do present themselves.”