Ming Zhao, CEO and Founder of Proven Skincare, is no stranger to this narrative and the frustration associated with unsuccessful attempts to correct her problematic skin and damage to self-esteem. As a private equity investor in her twenties, the 14-hour workdays she spent evaluating investment opportunities began to reflect on her face. She felt like she had aged a decade.
“I would wake up engulfed and withered, and at that point, I needed to do something drastically different with my skin,” Zhao recalled in a phone interview with Happi.com.
While most other skin care products on the market tout the so-called miracles they perform for all skin types, Ming says those claims sounded implausible, especially given the frequently reported low level of satisfaction. among consumers.
“I invested a lot of money in all these one-size-fits-all products, and thought there must be a better way,” she recalls.
A visit to a skin care specialist provided Zhao with a personalized skin care routine that started seeing “great results.” It was a diet worth the investment, she said.
The birth of the proven
This eureka moment inspired the Harvard Business School graduate to contact her friend, Dr Amy Yuan, a computational physicist at Stanford University. They began to look at environmental factors and other culprits that could be taking a toll on her skin.
“We later learned that so many factors impact the skin,” Zhao said. “I lived in Hong Kong and had different exposure to UV, blue light and pollution, different water hardness, and different stress levels. One-size-fits-all products did not address these issues at the individual level.
Yuan accepted and became Zhao’s business partner.
Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), personalization and big data, the duo – who then recruited dermatology consultant Dr Tyler Hollmig and formulation consultant Dr Nick Conley to train their team – surveyed scientific literature, consumer reviews and social media comments that feed their algorithm to discover skin care agents that work.
Their research resulted in a Herculean venture called The Skin Genome Project, which business partners call the world’s most comprehensive skin care database. Comprising 25 million consumer testimonials, 100,000 products, 20,000 ingredients and 4,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles, the project has led to the development of personalized, cruelty-free formulas for each individual’s skin care concerns. The project won the 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Award.
All these data underline Proven’s slogan: “one size fits all. ”
Potential proven skincare customers take the brand’s skin genome quiz. The online request only takes a few minutes. He asks specific questions aimed at answering his main skin care concerns; including acne, rosacea, rough skin, dark circles and wrinkles. The quiz also addresses skin sensitivity level, ethnicity and lifestyle, to get answers on screen time, diet, and stress levels. It also asks for a zip code, apparently to determine the UV index, pollution levels and other environmental factors. The active ingredients of Vitamin E in Ginseng Extract and Salicylic Acid are populated as users complete the questionnaire to start formulating products to meet specific skin needs.
When applicants are finished, they are given a personalized three-step daily regimen. The cleanser cleanses, tones, exfoliates and maximizes nutrient absorption from the second product, an SPF day moisturizer. Finally, a night cream with equal parts moisturizer and serum that should be applied just before sleeping, when the skin is in repair mode. According to Proven, this diet aims to improve the skin microbiome while eliminating each user’s individual skin issues. The products are packaged in futuristic silver bottles.
According to the results of an independent clinical study, 81% of users reported that their skin was “well hydrated” after following the Proven program. And 77% of people reported a brighter, more glowing complexion after 30 days.
Proven goes public
Three and a half years after its inception, Proven’s big data idea has paid off. In addition to winning the MIT award, company executives made an appearance on Shark Tank, although no sharks took a bite of the hook. Still, with $ 24 million in revenue in less than two years, Proven is preparing to issue an IPO on the Nasdaq.
Profits will go to exploring the market for AI talent, investing in AI innovation and research and development of new products. Proven’s public listing follows the company’s intention to expand into other wellness categories with a new wave of revolutionary products that founders and relatively new mothers are adding to their brand. These include supplements, cosmetics, and hair and baby care products.
“The main reason we wanted to have this crowdfunding campaign is to empower consumers to own Proven and participate in and continue to create value,” Zhao said.