Aquis has raised a $5 million Series B round from Springboard Growth Capital, which has also backed The RealReal, ClassPass and Hint Water.
The hair-care business — best known for its moisture-wicking hair towels — plans to use the capital in order to ramp up marketing efforts, continue product development and make key hires. Aquis will also be focusing on its direct-to-consumer business.
In addition to hair towels, Aquis also developed a hair-care system — Aquis Prime — that consists of Water Defense Pre-Wash, a pH balance restoring spray, in-shower Rebalancing Hair Wash and Restorative Leave-In Mist. The idea is to limit the amount of damage to hair when it is wet.
Future products will include innovation with “green chemistry,” meant to “strengthen hair from within,” according to cofounder Britta Cox.
“It’s not as harsh on the hair — we’re not ready to say too much,” Cox said. “But to strengthen hair in a more permanent way that is greener and longer lasting without so many chemicals.”
In addition to new products, Aquis plans to build up its team, specifically the marketing department. That means “starting with someone who would lead the marketing organization, and actually understand the customer journey and really build up a stronger engagement model within our community,” said Aquis cofounder Suveen Sahib.
“We’re looking at how do we invest more in the marketing of the business, specifically direct-to-consumer models, and grow Aquis Prime…and also invest in new technologies and bring them to the market,” Sahib said.
Aquis previously raised money from Guthy-Renker Ventures in 2017 to help fund the launch of Aquis Prime. The business has been growing quickly, and industry sources said it is on track to do $25 million in sales by 2020.
“We were in conversations with several investors and one of the things that stood out for Springboard was they are one of the most breakthrough tech investors in the country, they have been largely involved in consumer tech platforms and we are the first beauty investment that they are making and they have strong belief in women entrepreneurs,” Sahib said.
“We’re a women-led company,” Cox noted, adding that the investors truly saw the opportunity. “Kay Koplovitz [cofounder managing partner at Springboard] and she’s been in every meeting, she’s very hands on.”
Plus, the Springboard team has been using Aquis products, Cox said.
“It’s not about here’s this shampoo and conditioner, just adopt it, it’s a learning from our community what’s working, what they’re loving about it, and from there, building it up,” Sahib said.
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