PITCH DECK: Read the data-driven deck a Black beauty company used to secure a $1.2 million round backed by Google

Joycelyn Mate and Rachael Twumasi-Corson smiling in front of a brick wall.
  • Rachael Twumasi-Corson and Joycelyn Mate created the hair brand Afrocenchix.
  • In June, the company closed a $1.2 million seed round backed by Google.
  • Twumasi-Corson and Mate exclusively showed Insider the pitch deck that lured investors.

The fundraising journey is fresh in Rachael Twumasi-Corson’s mind.

While raising a seed round for her hair company Afrocenchix, she and her cofounder, Joycelyn Mate, 31, had their beauty expertise questioned and their experiences as Black women belittled. That the Black haircare industry is worth billions was lost on investors, Twumasi-Corson, 31, told Insider.

“We had someone ask ‘Why are you talking about Africa?’ and make jokes about Africans being poor,” she said. “It was a very strange experience.”

That didn’t stop them.

Afrocenchix, which they launched in 2011, is the first Black-owned hair company to be sold in Whole Foods UK, Twumasi-Corson told Insider. In June, the founders closed a $1.2 million seed round backed by Google for Startups’ Black Founders Fund.

The first half of 2021 saw UK-based startups raise nearly $19 billion, double what was raised in the last six months of 2020, according to financial site Sifted. And yet, the funding landscape for Black British women is dismal. Between 2009 and 2019 only 10 Black women in the UK raised VC funds, and British Black entrepreneurs overall receive just 0.24% in funding capital, according to a 2020 report by research organization Extend Ventures. 

Some Black British entrepreneurs self-funded when possible while others sought funding from US venture capital firms. However, Black US-based founders also face daunting fundraising journeys: Black businesses received 1.2% of the $137 billion raised in the first half of 2021, according to Crunchbase. 

Below is the pitch deck Twumasi-Corson and Mate used to attract $1.2 million in funding. Twumasi-Corson explained the formatting choices, the color selection, and what investors liked and didn’t like about their pitch presentation.

The deck starts out by showing real customers with the product.


Twumasi-Corson and Mate started the company to help with their alopecia, a condition that causes bald spots to appear on the scalp. They wanted a product line that wouldn’t further irritate their skin, but they found that challenging, as many over-the-counter products targeted toward Black people are made with toxic ingredients, some of which are known carcinogens.

Twumasi-Corson said it was important for them to stress that their product fit the need for customers around the world. They did this by using photos taken by real people with their product and showing that the brand already had over 1,500 customer reviews.

The tag line “the household name for afro hair” helps show that though its consumer base is somewhat niche, the company has established itself with its target audience.

Afrocenchix products use natural ingredients, such as its sulfate-free shampoo and a silicone-free conditioner. It’s now sold in 27 countries, including the US, with 70% of sales via word of mouth. Last year, Afrocenchix became the first Black natural hair company to air a Christmas commercial in the United Kingdom.


Then it introduces the market data.


A previous deck started by telling the stories of customers who had used the product, but Twumasi-Corson said investors would interrupt to ask questions about customers’ struggles or whether their needs were important enough to warrant an investment.

Twumasi-Corson and Mate knew they had to kick it up a notch, fitting into the narrative of Black women needing to do twice the work for even just half the pay and attention as their white counterparts.

They reformatted their presentation so that it first gave the data and context of the Black haircare industry. They hoped it would educate the investors on the market.

“When you’re talking about white investors, they might not care about Black stories,” Twumasi-Corson said. “So you have to give them this data.”


As they began presenting the data, Twumasi-Corson said, investors were routinely dismissive of their product: One told the duo that all he could offer was “adult supervision,” while another insinuated that he didn’t want to invest, as people from their backgrounds were often “nervous about spending money.”

The spending power of African Americans alone was valued at more than $1.2 trillion in 2018, while the spending power of Black Britons has been valued at more than $400 billion. The global Black haircare market is worth nearly $50 billion, the deck says.


Twumasi-Corson and Mate used their company’s colors as the palette of the pitch deck to show consistency in branding, in case an investor were to check out their social-media pages.

Here they broke down their monthly revenue, s, and online traffic. Investors were looking for traction and returns. “Slide 4 showed that we’ve already generated a huge amount of low-hanging fruit and this investment is guaranteed to reap a harvest,” Twumasi-Corson said.


The duo used data to go against investors who tried to scare them away.

For instance, two investors had questioned their customer retention, with one asking to see at least a 70% rate — Twumasi-Corson said that didn’t make any sense.

“Given the industry we are in, we want to see new customers each month,” she said. “If you are retaining 70% of your customers, you are essentially saying you only want to see 30% new customers every month — you want our growth to slow down.”

The brand used this slide to show that it was already overperforming in areas such as customer retention, with room to grow.

After presenting the data, it transitions to Afrocenchix’s narrative.


Twumasi-Corson and Mate explained what made the brand special compared with others in its category and the qualities that had lured customers.

For example, Afrocenchix is listed as the only vegan afro-hair line in the United Kingdom, while many hair brands marketed toward Black people in the UK and the US are not vegan.


This slide consists of customer testimonials, showing both the brand’s reach and its importance with its target audience.

It encapsulates the narrative with more data about the market potential.


This slide talks about the future of the market, showing investors that the business addresses a need that will one day dominate the hair sector.

It calls out competitors to say how Afrocenchix is different.


A chart shows where competitors fall on ethical standards and how Afrocenchix outshines them.

Choosing the right way to clearly showcase growth is important, Twumasi-Corson said.


The duo tried several formats before creating a table to showcase the numbers.

“With charts, every investor stopped and questioned us, despite it being a continued trajectory,” Twumasi-Corson said. “The table required slower thinking, and when investors did these more considered calculations they saw our vision.”

Graphics introduce each idea …


… and the projections chart is easy to read.


The deck includes the attention the brand has received.


“Investors want to see customer love and press love,” Twumasi-Corson said. “It’s a great protective moat.”

As the presentation ends, it introduces the team.


Twumasi-Corson and Mate have been working on this brand since 2009, when they were students at the University of Birmingham. Twumasi-Corson studied law before receiving her master’s in medical anthropology from University College London in 2015.

From there, she held positions at Kraft Foods Group and Tesco Stores while building Afrocenchix on the side. Mate has a background in cosmetics, finance, and operations.

The pitch deck calls out Afrocenchix’s first employee, Nadia Bruney, who was hired in 2017 and works as a marketer. The company has expanded to bring on a manufacturing and supply-chain manager and a full-time content and social-media coordinator.

“As a startup, people are everything,” Twumasi-Corson said. “We wanted investors to see who they were backing and understand how incredibly lucky they are to benefit from our brilliant team.”

The founders state their final case for why investors should invest in their company.


This slide restates the market value and calls out how the Black Lives Matter movement helped lead to an uptick in support for Black-owned brands since the murder of George Floyd last year.

Twumasi-Corson told Insider the brand hoped to expand its product offerings, such as adding a deep-conditioning treatment, and to bring on more team members.

The last slide has a catchy slogan and contact information.


Twumasi-Corson said she learned a lot on this journey, even though at times “it’s been a headache.”

She had advice about what could make it easier for Black women to raise funds in the future.

“Investors could make this fairer and increase their returns if they set out clear, transparent success metrics and stuck to them,” she said. “Even when the founder doesn’t look like Mark Zuckerberg.”