Y Combinator, an American seed accelerator described as the world’s most powerful startup incubator, has accepted Tress, a mobile app that helps black women from around the world find hairstyle inspiration, into its fellowship program.
The fellowship program runs for 8 weeks and is designed to help launch startups currently in their early stages.
Tress will join in the program and will receive US$20,000  from YC for a 1.5% equity stake, and advice from YC’s community.
“Acceptance into the Y Combinator Fellowship is validation of the work we are doing at Tress and the value we strive to provide to black women,” said Priscilla Hazel, Tress CEO.
She added, “We are excited to take full advantage of opportunities available in the Y Combinator Fellowship program to fulfill our mission of helping black women thrive.”
The Tress team will participate in the Kickoff conference during the first week of the program. The subsequent weeks of the program will be conducted remotely with virtual weekly office hours and talks.
At the end of the program, Tress will pitch to investors at a Virtual Demo Day.
Tress seeks to tap into the global black haircare industry, which is currently valued at over $500 billion (black women spend a disproportionate amount of their income on hair – 9 times more than other races).
Through its Android app, women can discover new hairstyles to inspire them during their next salon visit, see detailed information about hairstyles such as the exact products used, the name of the salon/stylist, and the price range, and share their favourite hairstyles and receive compliments and hair care secrets from a supportive community.
After a successful pilot period, Tress was launched globally on February 25, 2016 during the Beauty of Tech panel at the Lagos Social Media Week.
Tress was founded by three women software entrepreneurs from Ghana and Nigeria – Priscilla Hazel, Esther Olatunde, and Cassandra Sarfo – who met at a Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology program.
 The US$20,000 is in the form of a convertible security that only converts into shares if Tress has an IPO, or a funding event or acquisition that values it at US$100 million or more.