Who would have thought that skin care, algorithm, and big data would mix?
Is it really possible for an algorithm program to know and understand your skin better than you do? At a time where data is everything, can a computer help you customize a good skin care routine?
It all sounds so futuristic, but this is the future of skincare according to Proven Skincare, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered skincare brand, featured in Season 11 of Shark Tank.
What is Proven Skincare?
Proven is a skincare company that combines big data and AI to customize and recommend a personalized and customized skincare regimen to the customer.
The recommendation is based on a 3-minute Skin Genome Quiz that covers 47 factors, including genetics, skin goals, geography, lifestyle, and more.
Customers take the short quiz, which becomes the basis for the skincare regimen they will be recommended. Information provided from the quiz will be compared and analyzed with the 20,000 customer reviews, 4,000 scientific publications, and over 20,000 skincare ingredients in the Skin Genome Project database of Proven.
The customer will then receive a personalized starter kit that includes a cleanser, day moisturizer, and night cream. The ingredients of all the products are customized to address the customer’s skin issues, needs, and goals. The formulations are also made with consultations with expert dermatologists and leading scientists from Stanford University.
How did Proven Skincare start?
Proven Skincare co-founder and COO, Ming Zhao was a successful private equity investor who worked for Bain Capital. She experienced problematic skin and had difficulty finding the right skin care regimen for herself.
In an interview with Fox Business, she explains, “One day, I woke up and saw myself in the mirror and realized I was looking sunken and sallow. I’m much older than my age.”
She started investing in various types of skincare products, including expensive ones, but she claims that none of them worked for her. She went to a specialist who created customized skincare products for her and that’s where she got the idea of Proven Skincare.
She met Stanford University data scientist and computational physicist, Dr. Amy Yuan, and together, with Zhao’s business acumen and Yuan’s expertise in data, they started the Proven Skincare business.
What were the Sharks’ offers for Proven Skincare?
Proven’s founder Zhao entered the Shark Tank asking for $500,000 in exchange for 5% equity in her innovative skincare company. Her ask effectively placed the valuation of Proven Skincare at $10 million.
On deck for the pitch were Sharks Anne Wojcicki, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner.
The Proven Skincare co-founder opened her pitch with the problem that her company aims to solve, which is effective skincare that will solve each person’s unique skincare needs or concerns. To demonstrate this, she handed each Shark personalized skincare products that addressed their individual needs.
However, this was not enough to bring in any Shark offers. Guest Shark Wojcicki, the founder of 23andme, said that she has not seen enough science in skincare and opted out.
Businessman Mark Cuban felt the same way and also opted out, adding that he did not see how artificial intelligence adds up with skincare.
Did Proven Skincare get a deal on Shark Tank?
Although on track to earn sales of $3 million in their first year and even armed with a $3.5 million licensing deal for its technology in the baby care segment, Proven Skincare proved to be not enticing enough for the Sharks.
The company was even on track to earn a record $65,000 monthly sales, but Zhao revealed that they had spent $90,000 on Facebook advertising and made $110,000 in sales in the two months prior to taping the Shark Tank episode.
The high amount of money spent on reeling in consumers (basically the Cost of Acquisition) did not sit well with Shark O’Leary and he decided not to invest with the rest of the Sharks.
What happened to Proven Skincare after Shark Tank?
After the airing of the Shark Tank episode, Proven Skincare experienced its highest sales and website traffic. The company announced that it ended the year 2019 with a record $3 million in sales.
In April 2020, sales were up by 62%. According to Zhao, one-third of the skincare brand’s monthly sales are from repeat customers.
Since the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, consumers have also become more conscious and aware of what they apply on their skin and what they put in their bodies.
Is Proven Skincare still in business today?
Yes, Proven Skincare is still in business today.
The personalized skincare products are still available but only through the company’s website. The brand also has a strong following on Instagram with 100k followers and a healthy engagement from its community.
Proven Skincare has a 4.5-star rating from 325 reviews on Trustpilot, a global reviews platform.
How much is Proven Skincare net worth now?
At the time of the airing of the season 11 Shark Tank episode in September 2019, Proven Skincare was on track to generate $3 million in first-year sales.
This year, the AI-powered skincare brand reported they are on track to surpass the $3 million mark. If they’re able to achieve this, then they are already 1/3 of the $10 million valuation announced by the company when they pitched in the Shark Tank.
Lessons from Proven Skincare on Shark Tank
The co-founder of Proven Skincare may not have succeeded in closing a deal with any of the Sharks, but entrepreneurs can still learn from her Shark Tank pitch.
Zhao faced the Sharks alone but she came prepared with an organized pitch. She started the pitch with the problem that her company wanted to solve. Good businesses provide solutions, which would make it appealing to consumers.
She then followed this with a demonstration of how their product works by giving samples and explaining how each one is different. This highlighted the main unique selling point of their brand, which is customized skincare with the help of artificial intelligence and algorithm.
The use of an algorithm in skincare may not make sense to Mark Cuban, but Zhao and her co-founder Dr. Yuan highly disagree. They know that there is great value in the massive data in their database and that it can help solve and customize skin care regimens as they should be. With their growing sales and customer base, Proven Skincare is proof that the future of skincare is with AI.