Aja Labs has raised $2.5MM in a seed round of funding led by Impact America Fund, Better Ventures, and SOSV’s IndieBio, with participating changemakers across public health, business, beauty, and cosmetics, including Diishan Imira, CEO of Mayvenn, a beauty-tech company and platform for hairstylists that closed a $40MM Series C in Summer 2022. The money will fuel Aja Lab’s move from development to commercialization of their first product, biomaterial hair fibers made from plant material sold under the consumer brand Nourie.
Aja Labs is a venture-backed materials innovation company creating the next generation of safe-for-people and safe-for-the-planet fibers and materials by collaborating with nature. Nourie, the company’s first consumer brand, features patent-pending hair extensions, including a time-release function, delivering a nutrient complex over time during wear.
Aja Labs is comprised of a team of Black scientists and innovators. Their first product was developed in conjunction with North Carolina State University.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Osahon Ojeaga started her career in Silicon Valley, working for startups in fintech and software as a service.
The current $13B hair extension industry is dominated by products made overseas with low-quality, irritant-laden petrochemical-based plastics that often cause discomfort for the wearer. By market estimations, the average hair extension wearer spends upwards of $5,000 annually on the product and service costs associated with their hair.
Comparatively, Aja Labs uses domestic sourcing and manufacturing that honors the interconnectedness of sustainability and human wellness to develop a better-for-you and better-for-the-planet product that prioritizes scalp and hair health.
“Beauty and fashion technology are the material representations of our culture and the items that come in contact with our bodies daily,” said Ojeaga. “Black women, in particular, have been subjected to some of the lowest quality materials by way of fashion and beauty products, leading to irritation, contamination, and disease. We are championing a new future in which sustainability and wellness are paramount. From both an economic and a cultural perspective, better-made hair extensions are a meaningful flagship endeavor for us.”
Kesha Cash, the Founder and General Partner of Impact America Fund, said, “Aja Labs is paving an exciting new path in the field of materials science by inviting Black women into the biomaterials revolution and envisioning a world where we can look and feel good without compromising our health or the environment. We’re thrilled to join Osahon and the brilliant team that she’s built as they embark on the bright path ahead.”
The strategic group of angels and investors includes Overlap Holdings, Joshua Mailman Foundation, Making of Black Angels & Commune Angels, Debut Capital, and generous individual contributions.
Aja Labs will use the funds to accelerate go-to-market strategies for Nourie, make strategic hires in growth and operations, and further push patented research and development.