Proven wants to make it easy for women to find skincare that works for them. The co-founders are taking what they describe as a “rational, logic-based” approach to figuring out which ingredients might be most appropriate for each individual. Their core idea is to see whether deep learning and machine learning algorithms can distill useful information from millions of online testimonials for skincare products, plus a much smaller subset of publicly available peer reviewed scientific research papers — turning a mountain of what is obviously very variable data into, what they hope, is a formula for programming customized skincare products that work.
They’re focusing on skincare purely for women because it’s women who’ve written the millions of online product reviews underpinning this data + AI play. Their database combines data on hundreds of thousands of skincare products culled from millions of users reviews. At this point foundre Ming Zhao says they’ve used their AI engine to analyze more than 8 million reviews and testimonials — “of basically anybody who’s bought a skincare product, a beauty product and has written a comment about it online”.
“In this database it also has more than a hundred thousand beauty products that have been talked about. So basically everything that’s on the market. As well as more than 20,000 ingredients — as well as 4,000 peer reviewed scientific articles on skin and on ingredients and on what works for skin,” she continues. “So it is not just reviews but it’s combined with scientific research.
“On our team we also have an award winning cosmetic chemist who is the person who helped to formulate all of our products. We also have dermatologist advisors on our team who put the human touch on top of the big database knowledge base.”
Potential buyers must first fill out a survey on Proven’s website, answering questions about things like their age, ethnicity, skin type and their skincare priorities. After which they’ll be emailed custom products they can buy — which will in turn be blended by drawing on Proven’s database of AI-distilled testimonials to match crowdsourced learnings to what an individual customer knows (or at least claims to know) about their own skin.
Globally, the skincare, beauty and cosmetics industry is estimated to be worth some $445BN at this point — a figure that’s only set to keep growing in an age of selfie obsession and perpetual digital self promotion.
Soma invested in the seed round.