Central regions | Retail, FMCG | Finance, business

Russians in U.S. raise investment from Y Combinator

5 Jul '18
Scentbird, a U.S.-based start-up of Russian origin which offers users perfume using a self-learning recommendation system, earlier this year raised $18.6m in round A investment from a consortium that includes Y Combinator, the world’s largest business incubator, Rainfall Ventures, and some other investors.

The project was set up in 2014 by four entrepreneurs, of whom three came from Russia: CEO Maria Nurislamova, COO Sergey Gusev, and CTO Andrei Rebrov. The start-up operates in the North American market and is focused on subscription-based delivery of perfumes it carefully chooses using its proprietary recommendation algorithm. Scentbird’s monthly subscription costs a user $14.95.

Mr. Gusev was quoted as saying that the start-up was planning to use the investment to hire new people and launch new private label products. According to the COO, the team is moving beyond just being a perfume platform and is looking also at cosmetics and skincare, extending its product line to “hundreds of items—and all of it for $14.95/month.” Some money will be used to fine-tune the technology and improve recommendations. Scentbird is eyeing markets other than America, but not Russia at this stage, Mr. Gusev said.
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