Former L'Oreal and Palantir execs use Sourcerie to conjure up beauty funding

A British start-up which aims to provide consumers with personalised beauty regimes has raised nearly £2m to fund its expansion.

Sky News understands that Sourcerie, which was set up by Kristin Cardwell and Alex Beyer, will this week announce the closure of a pre-seed funding round led by Playfair Capital and Vorwerk Ventures.

Sourcerie's platform - a personalised shopping marketplace between consumers, retailers and brands - is designed to provide a bespoke service to customers who can purchase personal care products made by brands such as Clinique, Elemis and Dermalogica.

Ms Cardwell, who previously worked at the cosmetics giant L'Oreal, said the impetus to create the business had come from the "personal struggles" endured by her and her co-founder as they sought effective products to combat their eczema.

"Prescription steroids worsened my eczema and I desperately wanted to find other ways to control the condition, which led to speaking with other eczema sufferers like Alex," she said.

"I found getting recommendations for new products from people like me to be the most helpful, and thought, can't we find a way to scale this?

"Knowing how important reviews are - with nearly 80% of customers saying reviews are most influential for their final purchase decision - this seemed like the logical place to start."

She added that Sourcerie's ultimate objective was to echo the status that Farfetch has attained in the area of online luxury fashion.

"The $500bn global beauty and personal care market has become fragmented and frustrating for consumers to navigate," Ms Cardwell said.

"It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the industry to serve a wider spectrum of diverse consumers with a growing long tail of niche products and brands launching daily.

"We plan to become the go-to platform for both consumers and suppliers, for every decision in personal care,

A former executive at Palantir, Ms Beyer described the beauty industry as "a massive market but a tech laggard".

"Making use of messy data is hard in any industry, but personalising for beauty has so much more nuance that can only be captured by scaling community input," she said.

A number of prominent angel investors also participated in Sourcerie's funding round, including Sandrine Deveaux, a senior Farfetch executive, Renee Parker, the former boss of Amazon Luxury Beauty, and Jason Scott, ex-head of Google's US start-up ecosystem.

Jeevan Sunner, a principal at Playfair, said: "In recent years, we've seen the number of brands and e-commerce platforms within the beauty and personal care space explode, making it more difficult than ever to navigate."

One early-stage investor said Sourcerie's raise was notable because of the dearth of all-female-founded companies raise funding at the pre-revenue stage.

Its 'cap table' of investors comprises 65% female backers.