Osahon Ojeaga started her career in Silicon Valley, working for startups in fintech and software as a service. But after four years of being one of the few Black women in the room, and constantly fighting to be seen, she was burned out.
Ojeaga went on a trip to Southeast Asia to rediscover herself and redefine what her career meant to her. Knowing that she probably wouldn’t have access to hair-care products or oils while traveling, she got her hair braided ahead of her trip in a protective style, which keeps the ends tucked away to prevent breakage. However, she had a negative experience with the specific protective style, she said. That bad braiding experience left her frustrated by the limited options Black women had to protect their hair.
“It was my first time having a bad experience after being exposed to Silicon Valley and the way that problems get solved,” said Ojeaga, adding that she felt emboldened to create a solution.
In 2020, she came up with the concept of Nourie, a startup that makes plant-based braiding hair extensions that deliver nutrients to the scalp. Ojeaga and her cofounder Mary Ellen Moore joined forces in late 2020, and after two years of product development and testing, the founders expect Nourie products to be available for pre-order in November.
In September, Nourie closed a $2.5 million seed round to fund her brand’s launch, led by Impact America Fund, Better Ventures, and SOSV’s accelerator IndieBio, a difficult feat for many Black female founders. In fact, as of 2021, fewer than 200 Black women had ever raised more than $1 million in venture capital. Ojeaga shared her pitch deck and advice, especially as global capital investments have shrunk this year and the rates of investments into Black-owned businesses remain low.
Here’s her 14-page pitch deck and advice for generating funding as a Black woman in America.