Tech Startup of The Week: Techturized Wins With Hair Care Company
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Techturized founders, Candace Mitchell, Chanel Martin, Joy Buolamwini, and Jess Watson try to eliminate the trial and error for women of color who are searching to find hair styles and products that fit their lifestyles.

A panel of eight judges elected hair care technology company, Techturized, the the winner of the 2013 Blacks in Technology Business (BiT) Pitch Competition at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX.

Three of the four Techturized co-founders, Candace Mitchell, 25; Jess Watson, 22; and Chanel Martin, 28, presented eloquently as they described their target: African-American women, who make up just 6% of the population, but drive 33% of sales in the U.S. hair care industry.

The judges unanimously voted for Techturized,  a hair care technology company that incorporates science and technology to revolutionize the way women interact with their hair, over their competitors, citing their polished presentation, which was laden with information pertinent to their target market, as a strong sell. The Techturized personalized hair care platform, MadamYou.com, will give women custom recommendations for their hair type and lifestyle.

“I couldn’t have been happier to have been exposed to all three teams,” says Ty Ahmad-Taylor, head of SmartTV services at Samsung Electronics, and one of the BiT Business Pitch Judges. “The winning group provided four key elements in any pitch: the problem that they were solving, the size of the market opportunity, a smart team with appropriate backgrounds and enthusiasm, and a proposed solution within realistic time frames.”

Losing your hair is never fun; especially, when it can be avoided. It happened to Mitchell once. She got her hair colored and permed at the same time and the results were devastating.

“African-American women have a range of hair types, a range of hair experiences and lifestyles. Its really hard to figure out what is personally best for us when it comes to a product or trying a specific style. A lot of times we’ll try a product and it doesn’t work, or there is some type of adverse affect,” says Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Techturized. “We go through a lot of changes too. You might cut your hair, move to a new city, get a new job. There is currently nothing on the market that is personal.  You see a lot of general information…,but there is no way to match that information to your personal hair characteristics.”

While attending Georgia Tech University, Mitchell met Watson and Joy Buolamwini in the computer science department where they all were pursuing a computer science degree. They met Martin, a chemical engineering major, while participating in other organizations. The girls learned they shared a passion for hair and the four of them decided to team up to come up with solutions to help women navigate the hairy terrain of ethnic tresses.

Martin and Mitchell  graduated and moved to different cities but that didn’t stop the team from meeting on Google Hangouts for three months as they worked out their business plan and applied to the Flashpoint Startup Acceleartor, started by Georgia Tech to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. When they learned they were accepted, Mitchell quit her job as an information technology specialist at PepsiCo. and they all relocated to Atlanta.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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