Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the beauty industry, and PROVEN Skincare is in the vanguard. AI is the ability of a computer to assess a colossal amount of information, draw rational conclusions and select relevant details faster than is humanly possible. It is Netflix recommending movies based on everything they know about us. It is Alexa, like the smartest personal assistant ever, answering questions, reporting on weather and traffic, scheduling our appointments, reading to us, shopping for us. AI allows PROVEN to customize products that address each individual’s unique needs and deliver better results more quickly.
Ming Zhao, using her Harvard MBA as a successful private equity investor, had problem skin. She tried every product that came down the pike, but they all were expensive failures. Unknown to her at the time, at Stanford University, Amy Yuan, PhD in Computational Physics, had her own skin problems and was building the platform that would become the Skin Genome Project. Fortunately, Ming and Amy met and founded PROVEN Skincare with Ming as CEO and Amy as CTO.
The Skin Genome Project is the most comprehensive skincare database ever created. It includes more than 4,000 scientific publications, 20,000 ingredients, 100,000 individual skincare products, and 8 million customer reviews, as well as fraud-detection algorithms to rule out fake reviews. It won MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Award in 2018. Once the database was in place, Ming and Amy collaborated with industry-leading dermatologists to develop the formulas that would work best for every woman and man.
To get started, users spend a few minutes taking the Skin Genome Quiz that determines 47 factors about you and your skin, your heritage, lifestyle, right down to the water hardness, humidity level, and UV index in your ZIP code. All of that information is funneled into an algorithm that decides what ingredients are most effective for your skin and the precise concentrations in little more than a blink of an eye. Then three multifunctional skincare products are custom-made to cleanse, protect and renew your skin.
- The cleanser contains ingredients that detoxify and balance the skin. There is no need for a separate toner or exfoliator, so you spend less time on your beauty routine.
- The daily moisturizer contains SPF and protects by acting as a barrier between your skin and all the air pollution, digital pollution (from phones and computers), and UV rays. It deeply hydrates, aiding in the retention of water in the outer layer of the skin and the skin’s natural oils.
- The night cream delivers intensive nourishment to repair, plump and firm the skin while you sleep. Your skin stays supple and youthful, and you wake up refreshed and renewed.
The cutting-edge ingredients go through strenuous microbe, stability, efficacy, and safety testing. PROVEN sources ingredients only from reputable suppliers, and your personalized products are made in the US in an FDA-accredited laboratory. The products are not tested on animals and are free of phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate that irritates the skin, eyes, mouth and lungs.
PROVEN earned a coveted spot inside the gift bags that went to 2018 Academy Award nominees and was named one of the top beauty innovations of 2019 by Allure magazine.
Proven Skincare in the Shark Tank
Ming Zhao, the entrepreneur behind Proven Skincare, appeared on Season 11, Episode 21 of Shark Tank, seeking $500,000 for 5% equity in her AI-based personalized skincare company. This valued the company at $10 million. During her pitch, Zhao highlighted Proven’s achievements, including a $3.5 million licensing deal to use its AI in the baby care industry and $110,000 in sales during a recent two-month period. However, the Sharks were unimpressed, noting the high customer acquisition cost, as $90,000 was spent on Facebook ads. The Sharks’ reactions varied, with some finding the business too early for investment and others objecting to the valuation. Ultimately, no Shark offered a deal, and Zhao left without an investment.
Despite not securing a deal on Shark Tank, Proven Skincare continued to grow, achieving over $24 million in annual revenue and expanding its product line. The company also raised an additional $6 million in funding.
|Season & Episode
|Season 11, Episode 21
|$500,000 for 5% equity
|$110,000 in recent two months
|$90,000 on Facebook ads
|$3.5 million for AI use in baby care industry
|Additional Funding Raised
|Post-Shark Tank Performance
|Over $24 million in annual revenue, expanded product line
Proven Skincare After Shark Tank
After appearing on Shark Tank Season 11 without securing a deal, Proven Skincare, led by entrepreneur Ming Zhao, has experienced significant growth and success. Despite the initial setback, the company’s annual revenue rose to $10 million in 2020 and doubled to $20 million in 2021, with continued growth leading to $24 million in annual revenue in 2023. By July 2022, Proven’s lifetime revenue had surpassed $37 million. This marked increase in sales is a testament to the brand’s growing popularity and effective business strategies.
Proven Skincare expanded its product offerings to include a complete skincare line, catering to a broad range of customer needs. The company also focused on international expansion, reaching markets in Canada, the UK, and with plans for China, Brazil, and Russia. Additionally, Proven Skincare featured on the docuseries “Going Public,” which provided an opportunity for viewers to invest in the company.
In 2021, Proven Skincare made a significant move by filing for a Reg A+, also known as a mini-IPO, allowing customers and enthusiasts to invest directly in the company. This customer-centric approach was further solidified in 2023 when Proven entered physical retail, launching in Sephora stores. The brand’s commitment to customer involvement and feedback has been a cornerstone of its strategy.
Proven Skincare’s innovative use of technology and customer-focused approach has not only resulted in strong sales and growth but also garnered industry recognition. The company received Glossy’s 2022 best use of technology award and a Cosmopolitan 2023 Holy Grail Beauty Award. Proven’s success story illustrates the potential for growth and achievement even when traditional investment paths, like those on Shark Tank, do not materialize.