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Beauty Start-up Nomi Raises Capital, Plans to Expand to More Cities

The business allows hotel guests to book hair and makeup services and charges them to their hotel rooms.

With a fresh round of capital, on-demand beauty company Nomi is poised for expansion.

Nomi brings hair and makeup services to guests in luxury hotels. The program launched in New York two weeks ago, and is eyeing expansion to other U.S. cities and eventually Asia, according to Nomi founder chief executive officer Nikki Robinson.

“What we’ve created is our own in-house back end so it links into the hotel’s management and payment systems and into Oracle as well — so you can charge hair and makeup to your room seamlessly,” Robinson said. “We fill a very specific pain point for the hotel,” she said.

The hair and makeup artists who work for Nomi are put through a training program and as soon as they graduate — after passing the test of providing Robinson with their services — they are sent into the field to provide a wide variety of hair and makeup looks, ranging from natural to glamorous. Nomi’s primary customers at this point are female business travelers, Robinson said. The first hotels to sign up are The Quin, Refinery Hotel and WestHouse New York Hotel.

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“One of the fastest-growing markets in the hotel industry is the female business traveler, and I am her best friend,” Robinson said. “We charge it to the room, it comes up very discretely on the room bill as ‘other.’ Salons in the neighborhood aren’t open early enough for her needs, and most hotels — only 1 percent of the world’s hotels have salons…she is able to use our services at 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m.”

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Other frequent customers have been women traveling with children who don’t want to take them to the salon or leave them with an unfamiliar babysitter, and the “everyday” woman who is going out and wants her hair and makeup done, according to Robinson.

The company’s technology uses artificial intelligence, algorithms and historical math to make sure that makeup and hair-styling professionals are able to get to every appointment on time and not be rushed out the door if a client requires further services. “We put really high-caliber artists into these hotels and we have a platform that allows them to be moved around at any time, that is constantly pinging into all kinds of traffic patterns, so it knows like, is the subway late, is the president in town, what historically were the traffic patterns on this day, five years ago in New York City, so we can make sure our artists are spending the most amount of time working and least amount of time traveling,” Robinson said. “The result is the woman is not rushed — it’s not like a happy meal — it’s truly a luxury experience because no one is late and she can always spend more time with you.”

Nomi’s debut follows the business’ win of Best Startup at the 2015 Angel Week event, which is for early-stage start-ups. There, the business found its first investor, and Robinson became the first female cofounder to win, according to the company. Nomi just closed in an $866,000 seed round, which included investments from angels and family offices, bringing it to more than $1 million in total funding. It’s already prepping for its Series A of approximately $2 million, which should aid further expansion.

Nomi is planning to roll into three more U.S. cities around January, according to Robinson. Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Boston are all on the table, she said. After that, “We want to go to Asia,” Robinson said.