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The use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology has a disparate impact on people of color across various sectors, that’s now changing in the beauty and haircare space thanks to Parfait, an A.I. wig customization platform. The company’s CEO and Co-Founder Isoken Igbinedion aims at disrupting the industry by being the first to use facial recognition and A.I. to provide buyers with customizable wig products. With the global market for facial recognition set to hit a valuation of $11.6 billion in 2026, Parfait has positioned itself to be a leading player in the tech and hair sectors, by bringing together the love of wigs and racial integrity.
The Breakdown You Need To Know: The wig and extensions market is expected to hit $13.2 billion by 2026, according to a report published by Research and Markets. Parfait raised $5 million in funding spearheaded by Upfront Ventures, Serena Ventures, along with investment from True Capital’s Culture Fund, as CultureBanx noted during its “Igniting Cultural Capital” session with UBS.
Igbinedion explained that the process of raising capital for her company wasn’t easy, even though she knew the importance of what she was building. “We operate in a really unique intersection of A.I., consumer products, manufacturing technology and beauty. We had to make sure that investors were correctly valuing what we were building and understood that we were a tech company first,” she said.
Beauty plays a significant role in the Black community with these shoppers spending $473 million on their hair care yearly. Igbinedion acknowledged that and said “ having ground level experience in the problem that we’re solving is invaluable to us at Parfait, the women’s wigs industry with its biggest consumers being U.S. Black women, is one of the most fragmented beauty sectors with disparities in product quality.”
Customizing Culture Head On: Research shows commercial A.I. systems tend to have higher error rates for women and black people. Some facial recognition systems would only confuse light-skin men 0.8% of the time and would have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women, MIT researchers found. Parfait is tackling this issue head on (no pun intended).
“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,” Serena Williams said in a statement.
This is something the Abyan Wynn, Fund Manager for True Capital’s Culture Fund agrees with, “Having a diversity lens is part of the True Culture Fund’s investment strategy is an asset not a hindrance, not to mention an incredible business opportunity.” Wynn also stated that “ investing in underserved markets is how you can actually guarantee the market has the space for growth.”
What’s Next: Through the improved facial recognition Parfait uses, the tech-based brand plans to make the wig industry more inclusive to meet the hair goals of consumers from all backgrounds. Parfait’s Seed funding round will help increase its production and improve the company’s supply chain to enter new markets across the globe.