Accelerace invests in Skin Bliss, an AI-powered app that helps its users deconstruct, assess, and choose the right skincare products and routines based on their skin types, skin concerns, and preferences.
With a bajillion skincare products on the market, confusing ingredient lists, an overload of information, and buzzwords such as “all-natural”, “paraben-free”, and “blue light”, picking the right skincare products and routines can feel equivalent to conducting a full-blown research proposal.
After struggling with acute skin problems as an adult, Dr. Maria Otworowska wanted to provide people with an uncomplicated process, reliable information, and transparent explanations to make well-informed skincare choices.
The result is Skin Bliss. Unlike user-generated recommendations, which often lack scientific foundations and chemical insights, Skin Bliss provides its users with accurate and personalized recommendations. All you need to do is fill out your skin profile and concerns (e.g. skin tone, redness, acne), lifestyle choices (e.g. cruelty-free, halal info, vegan), blacklisted/favorite ingredients, what type of products you are looking for (e.g. cleansers, toners, masks) and budget — and the app immediately generates matches for you.
We invested in Skin Bliss because the founders, Dr. Maria Otworowska and Dr. Marvin Uhlmann, have the technical skills to create a truly unique AI product that can help billions of people navigate the jungle of skincare. Furthermore, the beauty standards are (luckily) becoming focused on natural and healthy looks, which makes healthy skin a must-have. This gives Skin Bliss what we call strong beta (read: strong market growth), which is the main force that makes a startup scale and become a category creator.
Below you will find Maria’s answers to how she came up with the business idea, why an entirely new space within the skincare market is needed, and what the future plans of Skin Bliss are.
How did you come up with the idea for Skin Bliss?
Skin Bliss is a mobile app that helps users find their perfect skincare match. The idea to have an app for it came through the realization that there is an enormous disconnect between the reality of a consumer and marketing claims perpetuated within the beauty industry. And the realization came through my personal struggle of having to deal with acute skin problems as an adult. Up to that point, I’d been blessed, or rather blissed, by my ignorance regarding skincare and cosmetics. But when faced with a problem, and after trying (and overpaying for) several skincare lines recommended by different experts, I was left with a general sense of despair – nothing seemed to work and my skin condition continued to worsen!
But I was a scientist by training, so I knew I had to find a way to solve this problem both for myself and for many others like me. Fast forward a couple of years and amazing team members later, and we are already making a difference for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide!
How is what you are doing different and why is it needed?
Choosing the right skincare that is matched with one’s skin type and skin tone, can alleviate specific skin concerns and adheres to one’s lifestyle choices (e.g. vegan, halal, eco-friendly), is surprisingly complex. Skin needs are highly personalized, so word-of-mouth cosmetic recommendations (be it from a friend, your sister, or this cool TikToker with flawless skin) are at best useless, but more often can actually worsen your skin. When searching for recommendations online, all you can find are misinformation, contradictory advice, and fear-mongering tactics employed by many (almost all?) beauty brands and retailers. When you go to a cosmetic store, the majority of cosmetic choices available there have been formulated to match a generic (and non-existent) skin profile of a mass consumer.
It is not to say, of course, that effective cosmetics don’t exist, on the contrary! There are many amazing products that can perform true ‘miracles’ on your skin given that they are used in an intended way by the intended target audience. Importantly, we are talking here about the intentions of the product formulators, not the marketing team. For all of us who are not trained skin professionals or chemists, assessing and finding such products is a real struggle.
We believe Skin Bliss can solve this problem by bringing the AI revolution to the beauty industry. We are building a personalized, domain-specific recommendation system designed for recommending skincare and cosmetics. Our recommendation system is based on approximating and assessing product formulation in light of scientific evidence, expert knowledge, chemical data, and regulatory laws on the one hand, and detailed user analytics on the other hand. We empower our users with knowledge, reliable information, and transparent explanations necessary to make informed skincare choices. Our integrative approach is different from generic recommendation systems that are often based on user reviews alone (e.g. Amazon reviews available for a given product). Such systems lack the scientific foundations and chemical insights needed to make a suitable recommendation. As explained above, skin needs are highly personalized and skincare is complex, so generalizing over user reviews is simply unreliable.
What is the plan going forward?
I’ve just described how extremely complex it is to choose one cosmetic product. Now, imagine, choosing… three, seven, or ten products. Many skincare users have their entire skincare routines mapped out. But combining and layering products together introduces a whole new level of complexity. Many products contain pretty powerful and effective active ingredients that can visibly improve your skin. Some active ingredients, however, should never be mixed together! They will chemically interact with each other and might cause serious skin damage, or decrease each others’ effectiveness. Some can only be used every other day because they are too strong. Some go into the morning routine, some into the evening routine…
To figure all these things out if you are not a cosmetic chemist is borderline impossible. This is why the routine recommendation is the most requested feature in our app, and naturally, our next step is to make it happen. And we have been busy working on it with our skincare experts for months now. As I said, it is a truly complex problem! But I’m happy to report that we are really close to having the first iteration of the routine builder operational pretty soon.
Later on, we plan to give our users more means for self-discovery by running skincare experiments through which the users would understand once and for all what works for their unique skin profiles and what doesn’t. This, in turn, will help assemble a highly granular database of user-product interactions. Such unique insights have the power to fundamentally shake the entire industry and change the way cosmetics are formulated and produced. Ideally, we would want to eliminate the formulation and production of mass skincare and replace it with affordable, highly personalizable AI-guided products that are formulated for all types of consumers from diverse backgrounds.
Interested in getting an investment from Accelerace? We are industry agnostic and invest in pre-seed stage startups based in the Nordics and Baltics. Submit your pitch deck here! If you like being prepared and want to know how likely your startup is to get an investment from us beforehand, take our investment readiness test here!
Since 2008, Accelerace has supported 800+ Danish and international startups, including Trustpilot and Templafy, through our accelerator program, made 70+ pre-seed investments and matched startups with industry-leading companies such as Tetra Pak, Arla, and Elia. Accelerace is also responsible for the management of NOME (Nordic Mentor Network for Entrepreneurship), an elite mentoring program for Nordic life science startups.
Accelerace Invest II is the largest Danish fund in terms of the number of investments. By making approximately 30 new investments/year in pre-seed startups based in the Nordics and Baltics, the ambition is to be Denmark’s most aggressive early-stage investor.