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Online start-up has brick-and-mortar plans

Madison Reed is out to disrupt an $18 billion business.

The company, which makes and markets its own hair color products, has been called the Warby Parker of hair color. It has just closed on $25 million in new funding in a round led by earlier investor Comcast Ventures, with participation from previous investors. The new capital, which brings Madison Reed's funding to $70 million, will be used to expand the digitally native company's current business as well as its just-launched physical footprint, Madison Reed Color Bar.

In June, Madison Reed opened its first Color Bar, adjacent to its headquarters in San Francisco's Mission District. In October, it opened a Color Bar in Manhattan. The company plans to open 25 locations by the end of 2019.

"The reaction to our Color Bar concept has been astounding," said Amy Errett, Madison Reed CEO and co-founder. "We have focused on catering to women who are comfortable doing their hair color at home, and we will continue to do so. Now with the Color Bars, we also have a solution for women who want the help of a professional Madison Reed colorist, while saving time and money. Our mission is to meet our clients wherever they are – at home or in the salon – with superior, prestige hair color products that have ingredients you can feel good about."

At the Color Bar, customers can get permanent color applied to their roots for $60, or for $35 and 35 minutes, they can have an express root touch-up

Madison Reed uses technology in conjunction with a team of licensed colorists to help women find their perfect color. The company launched online in 2014 with an algorithm that takes customers through 12 questions about their hair to help them determine the right color product. Last year, it rolled out a photo-recognition feature that allows it make a color recommendation based on a customer's selfie.

The company sells a range of "luxurious prestige" hair colors ($25 each) that are made without ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates, and gluten, along with related hair-color products. While most of its sales occur on its site, Madison Reed products are also featured in Sephora and Ulta Beauty stores.

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