MIT Grad Built $110 Million Company in Less Than a Year

An emblem that reads "Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock

$110 million is a lot of dough… especially for a company that’s less than a year old. But believe it or not, that’s how much Function of Beauty is rumored to be worth.

Function of Beauty is an online, direct-to-consumer hair product company that creates customized shampoos and conditioners based on the client’s needs. They have a solution to combat nearly every type of hair care problem, including frizz, oily scalp, dry tresses, and dull color.

The New York-based startup has already raised $12 million in funding through Y Combinator. The company just launched in October of last year.

CEO and founder Zahir Dossa says he came up with the idea of creating tailor-made hair care products during his studies at MIT. The “aha” moment happened when he began researching different industries for his dissertation, which focused on ecommerce and value chain optimization.

“I saw that was the most bloated [industry] was beauty, and more interestingly, the value chain for beauty hadn’t really changed over the last 100 years,” Dossa said in an interview with Business Insider. “There were all these middlemen in the way.”

He quickly saw an opportunity in hair care due to the various different problems that people are trying to address. From a business standpoint, that makes for a near endless amount of solutions—well, almost endless. According to Business Insider, Function of Beauty can generate 12 billion different formulas.

“If we know what a person’s hair profile is and how they’d like their hair to behave or look or feel, then basically we can combine those two data points to be able to come up with a unique base for each person based on their profile, and then various performance blends that we can add that appeal to each hair goal that they fill out,” Dossa stated. “And then there are other various ways to personalize it, like the fragrance or the color.”

Better yet? If the client doesn’t like the product, they can return it and receive a new formula, free of charge.

It’s easy to see why Function of Beauty is doing so well, given how focused the company is on the consumer’s needs.

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