Eight startups from across the Ann Arbor entrepreneurial ecosystem tirelessly honed their pitches for the chance to win an $100,000 investment at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest competition. After a lengthy deliberation by the judges, Zell Lurie startup SAHI Cosmetics emerged as the winner, taking home the investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case.
“We are so thrilled to have the backing and support of an amazing entrepreneur like Steve Case,” said Shelly Sahi, CEO of SAHI Cosmetics. “The investment will go towards growing our luxury beauty brand through marketing and innovative product development.”
Founded by Shelly Sahi (MBA ’16), a former materials science engineer at Ford, SAHI Cosmetics provides customized cosmetics for women of medium skin tones. What began as an idea while attending the Ross School of Business, this new venture has given Sahi the opportunity to use her science background, producing custom blends at scale, while celebrating the beauty of brown skin.
Spurred by Sahi’s own love for cosmetics, and frustration with the lack of products available for medium skin tones, SAHI Cosmetics addresses a growing need in the marketplace. The recent launch of the SAHI Velvet Finish Diamond Foundation solves a major pain point for women of Arabic, Indian, Pakistani, Mediterranean, and Hispanic descent.
“Shelly Sahi is the prime example of an entrepreneur who has taken advantage of every resource the Zell Lurie Institute offers in order to make her dream business a reality,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “She continues to amaze us with her rapid growth.”
SAHI Cosmetics took home the grand prize at the 2017 Michigan Business Challenge, a campus-wide business plan competition at the University of Michigan. During the multi-phase competition, Sahi was selected for the Winter 2017 cohort of the Desai Accelerator, a joint program between the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and the Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business.
”Shelly Sahi’s hard work and dedication exemplify the characteristics necessary to drive forward an early-stage company,” said Angela Kujava, director of the Desai Accelerator. “By staying true to the core values of her business, and demonstrating unflagging perseverance, Shelly has created a venture optimized for scalable growth.”
The Rise of the Rest competition is led by Steve Case, the chairman of the investment firm Revolution and co-founder of AOL, Inc. The panel of Judges included Case, Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, Revolution partner David Hall, Revolution vice president Ashley Larson, Troy-based The Kresge Foundation vice president Robert Manilla, and dean Scott De Rue from the Ross School of Business.