4th Ave Market

Largest Black Owned online hair & beauty retail platform for people of color

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $0

Aggregate Commitments $
Platform

Wefunder

Start Date

04/01/2021

Close Date

08/13/2021

Min. Goal

$50,000

Max. Goal

$107,000

Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Seed

Valuation Cap

$8,000,000

Discount Rate

0%

Rolling Commitments $
Status

Active

Reporting Date

07/31/2021

Days Remaining

13

% of Min. Goal

0%

% of Max. Goal

0%

Likelihood of Max
unlikely
Avg. Daily Raise

$0

Momentum
cold
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Location

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Industry

Beauty & Personal Care

Tech Sector

CommerceTech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Low

Capital Intensity

Low

Business Type

Growth

4th Ave Market, with a valuation cap of $8 million, is raising funds on Wefunder. The company has developed an online hair and beauty retail platform. The retail platform allows people of color to discover, buy, and sell beauty, wellness, and wellness products specifically made for them. Salim Holder and Timothy Wells founded 4th Ave Market in October 2020. The proceeds of the current crowdfunding round, with a minimum raise of $50,000 and a maximum raise of $107,000, will be used towards marketing, cost of operations, and other legal and accounting expenses. 4th Ave Market reported growth of 1,274% in sales from 2019 to 2020.
Summary Profit and Loss Statement
Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$234,410

$3,048

COGS

$214,935

$1,235

Tax

$19,240

$1,295

 

 

Net Income

$-264,193

$-18,707

Summary Balance Sheet
Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$12,049

$158,675

Accounts Receivable

$0

$1,549

Total Assets

$77,984

$211,970

Short-Term Debt

$85,791

$584

Long-Term Debt

$0

$0

Total Liabilities

$85,791

$584

Financials as of: 04/01/2021
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Ratings

Analyst Report

Synopsis

There is a long history of discrimination around Black hair, particularly certain hair types. In recent years, though, more Black people have begun wearing their hair naturally. One professor calls it a “second natural hair movement, [in which] the Internet has played a crucial role.” 

Black Americans have a great deal of buying power ($1.2 trillion per year), and a growing portion of that spending is on personal care products tailored to their specific needs. As more Black people wear their hair naturally, they need specific products catered to their hair texture and style. The Black hair care industry hit $2.5 billion in market size in 2018 as Black consumers continue to move away from generic hair products and toward specialized products. 

4th Ave Market positions itself as “the largest Black-owned hair and beauty supply store targeting people of color.” The company is seeking to change the culture around Black hair, providing an extensive marketplace of hair and other personal care products that delivers value back to communities of color. Through revenue-sharing programs for ambassadors and partnerships with key stakeholders in the Black community (churches, salons, HBCUs, etc.), 4th Ave Market aims to build a personal care community that directly benefits Black people. 

4th Ave Market’s current Wefunder raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Price

4th Ave Market is raising a Crowd SAFE at a $8 million valuation with no discount. This price is a bit of a mixed bag. The valuation is relatively low for a company that already has an established brand and positive revenue growth, so that’s a positive for investors. On the other hand, 4th Ave Market’s revenues for 2020, while much larger than 2019 revenues, were still less than $300,000. That represents a fairly aggressive price multiple on a marketplace business model. Altogether, 4th Ave Market’s price rating is middle-of-the-road, leaning high.

Market

The Black hair care industry was estimated at $2.5 billion in 2018. There aren’t a great deal of quantitative statistics on this market, but several qualitative reports indicate that interest in Black-specific hair care is growing as natural hair becomes more and more accepted. 4th Ave Market also serves other segments of the personal care industry. The company sells many skincare products to serve the 52% of Black women who adhere to a skincare ritual.

While there are positive signals that more people of color are seeking out personal care products that meet their specific needs, the Black hair care market and associated personal care segments are still relatively small, at least in the United States. There’s also little hard evidence that this market is growing at a meaningful pace. Therefore, 4th Ave Market’s market rating is on the lower side. 

Team

4th Ave Market was founded by Salim Holder and Timothy Wells, close friends who combined their respective backgrounds in marketing and technology to build a marketplace for their community. Holder, the company’s CEO, has roughly 20 years of experience in marketing. He previously worked in brand management positions for a number of large corporations (or the agencies that serve them) including stints as a strategist for Kotex, Cottonelle, and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey. Holder founded 4th Ave Market in 2018. He also works as a lead instructor at General Assembly and runs his own brand strategy and influencer marketing agency. 

It’s difficult to find much information on 4th Ave Market co-founder Timothy Wells. The company’s Wefunder page describes Wells as a “software engineer with 15 years of experience managing inventory systems… with top companies including Urban Outfitters, Burlington Coat Factory, Livingsocial.com and GitHub.” Wells doesn’t seem to have a LinkedIn profile, so it’s difficult to assess his background beyond this information. 

It’s a good sign that 4th Ave Market was founded by two friends with complementary skill sets in marketing and technology. However, neither co-founder’s background lends particularly well to scaling a Black hair care marketplace startup. Holder has spent his career managing huge Fortune 500 brands, which doesn’t translate perfectly to running a very small company. It’s also somewhat worrisome that he appears to hold additional roles in addition to running 4th Ave Market (though it’s not clear whether these roles are full-time or part-time). It’s difficult to assess Wells’ background fully, but if he is indeed more of a quality assurance engineer, he might not have the expertise needed to build marketplaces from scratch. For all of these reasons, the 4th Ave Market team score is its lowest. 

Differentiators

4th Ave Market claims to be the largest Black-owned hair and beauty supply store for people of color. It’s difficult to verify this assertion, but 4th Ave Market is far from the only Black-owned personal care marketplace. There are several other Black-owned brands selling various combinations of makeup products, skincare products, and more with a specific focus on consumers of color. 

In general, marketplaces don’t have as much differentiation as product-focused brands. The actual items available on 4th Ave Market’s site are likely sold elsewhere, perhaps in many other places. It’s difficult for a single marketplace to fully outpace competitors on the basis of small price differences, small advantages in customer service, or other factors that aren’t particularly salient. Therefore, 4th Ave Market has minimal defensibility in a market that does have a good deal of competition. That’s why the company’s differentiation score is low.   

Performance

4th Ave Market (which the co-founders apparently purchased as a pre-existing online marketplace) launched with new management in 2019. In that first year, the business generated just over $3,000 in revenue. In 2020, though, 4th Ave Market had much more success. The company generated almost $235,000 in revenue, a significant jump in one year. 4th Ave Market did lose a great deal of money in 2020 with a net loss of almost $265,000. The company’s margin between revenue and cost of goods sold was only about $20,000, typical of a marketplace that has lower margins than a product business. 

Beyond financials, 4th Ave Market has seen traction in other areas of business. The company welcomed 300,000 site visitors in 2020, which apparently puts it in the top 1% of Shopify sites. It also boasts an email list of 40,000 subscribers. It has raised a small amount of capital, about $260,000, in addition to its current fundraising round. 

Overall, 4th Ave Market is still a small business in early years of operation. Revenues aren’t extremely high, and the company is still losing money. Revenue growth between 2019 and 2020 was very strong, though, and 4th Ave seems to have built steady traffic at the top of the marketing funnel to continue gaining customers. Therefore, the company’s performance rating is its highest.

Risks

The main sources of risk from an investment in 4th Ave Market have to do with the company’s team, investment terms, and time horizon. Perhaps most notably, the 4th Ave Market team isn’t particularly experienced in skills necessary to scale a personal care marketplace startup, and the company’s CEO doesn’t appear to be devoted to the business full-time. In addition, investors aren’t receiving a discount from this investment round, which translates to less favorable returns. There’s also a concern about the time that this business will take to mature and hit profitability. The market is relatively niche, and 4th Ave Market would have to capture a significant amount of new customers to continue growing steadily. Related to this, financials also represent a small risk. 4th Ave Market was deeply unprofitable last year with narrow margins due to its marketplace model. 

Bearish Outlook

4th Ave Market has many markers of a successful small business, but it doesn’t appear to be a high-growth startup that could yield impressive returns for investors. The Black hair care market is still a relatively niche industry. In addition, 4th Ave Market faces competition from many similar Black-owned marketplaces that promise much of the same focus on communities of color. It’s notoriously difficult for marketplace businesses to differentiate and scale, particularly within limited markets. It seems as though 4th Ave faces a long journey in search of higher revenues and profitability. 

Bullish Outlook

4th Ave Market has built a strong brand — with a distinctive aesthetic and strong messaging — around delivering Black products directly to communities of color. It’s an admirable message rooted in the historic 4th Avenue District in Birmingham, and one that seems to be resonating with a growing set of consumers. 4th Ave Market posted significant year-over-year revenue growth in 2020 with additional metrics for site traffic, list size, conversion rate, and more that signal continued growth. The company certainly has work to do in improving its margins and adapting its business model toward profitability. However, it seems as though the strength of the 4th Ave Market brand and community could launch it into success as the Black hair care and personal care market continues to grow.

Executive Summary

4th Ave Market is a Black-owned personal care marketplace offering haircare, skincare, and other products specifically for people of color. The company has a noble, focused goal of capturing value from the Black community and delivering it back to the Black community, including partnerships with Black leaders, a revenue-sharing program for brand ambassadors, and more. 4th Ave demonstrated strong revenue growth in 2020. The company seems poised to continue acquiring customers and becoming a trusted hub for personal care. 

On the other hand, 4th Ave Market’s co-founding team isn’t particularly experienced in disciplines that are highly relevant to this business. That’s even more concerning in light of the competitive battle that 4th Ave faces among personal care marketplaces. While the company’s mission is strong, several other competitors also promise to deliver value back to Black communities. This lack of differentiation, particularly within a relatively niche market, is a major source of risk for the company. Therefore, 4th Ave Market has been rated a Neutral Deal. 

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

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