A free search engine for beauty products, Mira, launched Tuesday online and through its mobile app, according to a press release. The platform was founded by Jay Hack and Brandon Garcia, two Stanford graduates, "with the aim to champion transparency and inclusivity in the highly homogenous beauty space."
The platform is intended to help shoppers find the right beauty products for their needs, and works by analyzing product reviews and translating them into "digestible product synopses." Shoppers can also compare beauty products side by side and, when ready, "click-through to purchase their favorite products for the best price."
Part of Mira's value proposition is giving users the ability to ask advice or product recommendations from a community of beauty users on the platform "with similar skin types, skin tones, and aesthetic preferences." Mira uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to help pair users with the right product and with users who may have similar beauty needs.
As a search engine specifically aimed at beauty users and their needs, Mira enters the retail space at an interesting intersection of marketplace and social platform.
It's reminiscent of Sephora's Beauty Insider Community, a members-only social platform launched in 2017 aimed at connecting its shoppers over their common beauty needs and interests. A feature on Sephora's main site also lets shoppers talk to each other on product pages about how well a given product worked for them before deciding to purchase it.
Indeed, Mira's founders even refer to the platform as a "beauty insider in your pocket," which gets smarter the more users join on.
"It allows users to ask any beauty question on their mind and receive answers from real consumers with diverse backgrounds, taking them from beauty consumer to beauty connoisseur," CEO and co-founder Jay Hack said in a statement.
The concept of a community-based marketplace in the beauty space makes sense for a few reasons, most notably since shoppers in that segment often have very different product needs, based on everything from personal preference to skin tone. Beauty is also a space that tends to inspire passion in superusers that shop the likes of Sephora and Ulta, which both have robust loyalty programs to show for it.
The investing community seems to think so too, as the platform is launching with backing from Unilever Ventures (the investing arm of Unilever, which itself has gotten more acquisitive in the personal care space lately), e.ventures, Founders Fund, 14W and Great Oaks Venture Capital, among others.