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Software is eating your hair

Mayvenn website
Courtesy Mayvenn

Even the hair care market is being attacked by technology.

Mayvenn, a start-up that 's enabling neighborhood hair salons to create online storefronts, said Friday it has raised $10 million in venture funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Founded by Diishan Imira, who spent much of his career importing goods and selling them in the U.S., Mayvenn is initially focused on hair extensions, a niche but surprisingly large market. The company started with African-American salons and has expanded to include anyone in the industry.

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The concept is simple. Mayvenn buys products wholesale from Asian countries and stores them at the company's warehouse in Oakland, California. Any stylist that signs up with Mayvenn can sell the products on its website.

Purchases get routed directly to Mayvenn, which ships products out that day and gets them to customers in two to three days. Mayvenn pays a commission of about 20 percent to the stylist and counts the rest as profit.

"These salons can't afford to hold or manage inventory," said Imira, who has lived in China and speaks some Mandarin. "There's huge potential revenue being lost by hair stylists and salons."

Mayvenn has 70 employees and works with over 30,000 hair stylists around the country. While it's starting with hair extensions, the company plans to use some of the funding to move into new products.

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"The idea is to expand in all hair products and cosmetic products as well," Imira said.

This isn't Andreessen Horowitz's first foray into the beauty market. The company was an early backer of Dollar Shave Club, which recently added a line of hair products. And it backed Walker & Co., which also started in the shaving market with the Bevel brand and has aspirations to "make health and beauty simple for people of color," according to its website.