The Zell Lurie Founders Fund at the University of Michigan has made a seed investment of $100,000 in Ann Arbor-based Sahi Cosmetics LLC, a startup that was part of last winter’s cohort of companies at the Desai Accelerator.
The accelerator is a joint venture between the Zell Lurie Institute at UM’s Ross School of Business and the school’s College of Engineering.
The investment from the fund will help the company expand its product line for women with medium skin tones. Earlier this year, Sahi Cosmetics won the top prize of $27,000 at the Michigan Business Challenge, a business-plan competition at UM, and got an investment of $25,000 as part of its acceptance into the Desai Accelerator.
Shelly Sahi, who got her MBA from UM last year, originally intended to use her graduate studies to advance her career at the Ford Motor Co. based in Dearborn, but got the entrepreneurial bug at Ross’ Zell Lurie Institute for
Sahi’s company targets an underserved niche. Most cosmetics on the market are made for Caucasian women with pink undertones to their skin. She says that leaves women with olive and yellow undertones, who may be of Arab, Indian, Pakistani, Mediterranean and Hispanic descent, with poor makeup options.
A former materials engineer at Ford who has had this problem herself, Sahi saw an opportunity to use her science background to produce custom blends at scale.
“Growing up, I loved reading fashion magazines, but none of the women looked like me. I never want another girl to be left out in that way,” Sahi, who is of Indian descent, said in a press release. Products are sold directly at sahicosmetics.com and on Amazon.com.
The Founders Fund invests in companies founded by Ross students and recent alumni. It was created by a 2015 gift from business magnate Sam Zell.