Black women can continue to give thanks because not only do we now have Fenty Beauty, but there’s also Mented, which recently secured enough capital to continue making products specifically for women of color.
Mented co-founders Amanda Johnson and K.J. Miller, both 31, met at Harvard Business School and had been “bootstrapping” Mented with grassroots marketing campaigns, word of mouth, social media and influencer campaigns.
The duo recently raised at least $1 million in their first round of fundraising, making them only the 15th and 16th African-American women ever to raise $1 million in venture capital, according to Forbes magazine.
In January 2017, Mented (short for “pigmented”) started taking preorders for its first products: vegan, nontoxic nude lipsticks formulated for women of color.
“Our end goal is that women of color feel prioritized in the world of beauty,” said Miller. “Women of color were used to being treated as an afterthought. It’s not every day that you’re a priority.”
The same could be said for raising money in business.
As data from investor Kathryn Finney’s Project Diane shows, although black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., they receive only 0.2 percent of venture capital funding.
The average startup founded by a black woman raises only $36,000 in VC funding, versus $1.3 million for the average failed startup led by a white man, Forbes reports.
As for Mented, its new round of cash will reportedly go toward new eye-makeup palettes, as well as personnel expansion and marketing.
“We really think we’re onto something here at Mented,” Johnson said. “Even though women of color have a difficult time raising money, if there’s an underserved market, investors attack it.”
Read more at Forbes.