Award-winning Afro hair care company Nylah’s Naturals has raised a £530k seed round led by Midven.
The investment will come from both the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) through the MEIF West Midlands Equity Fund and the West Midlands Co-Investment Fund, in addition to a syndicate of angel investors. Both funds are managed by Midven, part of the Future Planet Capital Group.
Nylah’s Naturals’ mission is to craft the future of purposeful hair care by creating high-performance solutions using non-toxic, naturally occurring ingredients – the key to which is a trade secret formulation. A 2020 study found that around 50% of products advertised to Black women contained toxic chemicals that were linked to serious health issues (Harvard, 2020). For Black women hair represents more than beauty; it also represents heritage, community and belonging. Currently there are no non-toxic hair care solutions available that address the physical and mental issues associated with hair loss, experienced by almost half of black women around the world. Nylah’s Naturals’ initial strategic focus is providing hair restorative solutions for Black women with Afro hair, with a long term vision to expand its global market presence to serve every demographic.
The company has a long-term product road map to continue addressing hair loss and hair care for the underserved Black community. Pivotal elements of this plan include a direct-to-consumer subscription proposition in the UK and international expansion which will include a strategic state-by-state launch in the US.
This round of investment will enable a number of key hires that are fundamental to Nyah’s Naturals’ road map. The first of these is Bob Holt OBE, former CEO of global cosmetics brand, Revolution Beauty PLC, who will be joining as executive chairman. Renowned dermatologist and specialist in hair loss disorders, Dr Sharon Wong, has been appointed as clinical adviser putting Nylah’s Naturals in a strong position to meet their global goals.
In the run-up to securing this seed round investment, Midven has provided strategic guidance to Nylah’s Naturals. It has also assisted substantially towards shaping the opportunity and improving the business’ investment readiness. Midven will continue to support the growth of the company including helping to build out the senior management team and helping to find new investors for this and future rounds. The current round remains open until April 2024, with hopes to raise an additional £500,000.
Celebrating the heritage and hair of the community the company serves, Nylah’s Naturals provides a positive solution whilst addressing the emotional and cultural discussions around hair and beauty in modern society.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “We set up the Co-Investment Fund to support great local entrepreneurs and businesses that had tremendous growth potential. Nylah’s Naturals is a wonderful example of that. That’s why I’m delighted that the company has become the second business to benefit from this new fund and I’m confident that this investment will help Kameese to go global.
SMEs are the lifeblood of our regional economy so it’s vital that we improve their access to the finance they need to advance. These local businesses will help power our region’s recovery and I cannot wait to see them succeed – along with the local people they employ – in the months and years ahead.”
Huw Sparkes, Investment Manager at Midven says, “This investment isn’t just about backing a brand. It’s about empowering a community, embracing diversity, and championing beauty in every curl and coil. Having known Kam for a few years I’m excited to be working with her, as well as Bob and Sharon, as the business scales into a global solution for Black women everywhere.”
Kameese Davis, CEO of Nylah’s Naturals says, “In a landscape where less than 1% of VC money in the UK is allocated to all-female teams and only 0.02% reaches Black women entrepreneurs, this investment from both the MEIF and the West Midlands Co-Investment Fund, and our esteemed angels takes on an even greater significance. It not only demonstrates Midven’s commitment to levelling the playing field for underestimated founders but also serves as an example of hope for those facing immense barriers in the world of entrepreneurship.
“With this support, Nylah’s is poised to redefine the hair care offering for Black women, and make a meaningful impact, not only for ourselves but for aspiring entrepreneurs who look up to us as well. The future holds incredible promise, and we’re eager to begin this journey.
Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, says, “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund has been backing innovative solution focused businesses since its launch in 2017 and MEIF’s latest investment in Nylah’s Naturals is a great example of this. Having identified a gap in the hair care market, the funding secured will help the business to continue to grow and establish itself in international markets.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.