Hyderabad startup SkinKraft uses data-driven formulations to give you customised skincare solutions
Hyderabad-based SkinKraft claims to do what no other skincare brand in India has done so far — harness data analytics to formulate customised solutions.Sujata Sangwan
The massive multi-billion-dollar skincare and cosmetics industry has an answer to every problem, but how effective are mass-produced lotions and creams in dealing with conditions that are as unique as the number of consumers of such products?
But in this technology-driven age, a (customised) solution to this is not far away. Take, for example, Hyderabad-based SkinKraft. Conceptualised in 2017, the startup has started retailing online mid-2018, providing a customised skincare regime for Indian women.
Chaitanya Nallan, CEO, SkinKraft, says,
“SkinKraft was born out of two undeniable truths about the current skincare industry: first, women trying to find even basic skincare products are often caught in an unrewarding cycle of experimentation. And second, despite growing levels of frustration among their consumers, skincare brands continue to churn out generic formulations catering to the mass market. This led us to set up SkinKraft.”
The startup has already assisted over four lakh women with their skin concerns so far.
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The skinny on data-driven customisation
So, what does data-driven customisation entail in skincare? Through a holistic assessment of the customer’s skin, similar to a dermatologist assessment, SkinKraft analyses her current skin requirements and creates a skin profile.
Based on this, a detailed analysis charts out the problem areas and the ingredients required to manage them. Then, a customised skincare regimen is recommended to the customer, which includes ingredients corresponding to the specific requirements as outlined in the customer’s skin profile.
“Data is at the core of SkinKraft - for the first time a cosmetic product has been designed driven by data,” adds Chaitanya.
The startup has its base in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. “Hyderabad, because it’s a great pharma base and gives us a great resource for formulation. Bengaluru, because of its strong tech foundation. We look at data and figure out how to make better products and for that we need data engineers; Bengaluru is a great hub for that,” the CEO says.
SkinKraft was founded by Chaitanya, Veerendra Shivhare (CTO), and Sangram Simha (CMO).
Chaitanya, an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur and International School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, has a decade-long experience of building and growing high-performance tech startups, which includes India’s first permission-driven mobile advertising platform company mGinger. Veerendra is a technology entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience in tech startups, mobile technology, strategy, and innovation.
Chaitanya and Veer have worked together in the past at mGinger and Infosys. They met Sangram, ex-Marketing Head at Caratlane in 2012 when he was already building Stylecraze, a part of IncNut, SkinKraft’s parent company.
IncNut Digital is a global media company focused on women’s beauty, wellness, and parenting.
Apart from SkinKraft, and Stylecraze.com, which is an online beauty and wellness community, IncNut also runs MomJunction (a portal on pregnancy and parenting), and Vedix (a customised ayurvedic hair care line).
IncNut initially secured a seed of round of Rs 50 lakh from Venture East in 2013. In 2018, Japanese conglomerate brand Istyle acquired Venture East’s stake for Rs 28 crore.
What’s in a SkinKraft box?
Once the customer visits the website, they are directed to a ‘skinID’ questionnaire, which is designed by a dermatologist. It then recommends a three-step customised routine complete with a cleanser, a moisturiser, and a skin issue-specific product addressing their primary concern. The regimen kit starts at Rs 999.
SkinKraft caters to typical complexion issues such as dark spots, dark patches, skin lightening/tanning, and acne. The formulations take into consideration the skin types - normal, oily, combination, and dry, in addition to the current skin health markers revealed in the questionnaire and related to the customer’s lifestyle. The company then customises each kit according to the individual’s needs.
The startup claims that its products are designed to be gentle on the skin and are free of harmful chemical compounds and irritants such as parabens, phthalates, SLS, and formaldehyde. The products are also cruelty-free and are ethically manufactured.
“All SkinKraft products are backed by over 10,000 hours of intensive research and collaboration with Indian, Taiwanese, and Japanese dermato-cosmetologists, pharmacists and pharmaceutical engineers,” Chaitanya explains.
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SkinKraft’s target audience are women in the age group of 24-45, with majority of them from Tier-I cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, among others.
“The SkinKraft brand has been built by the product itself and the unique proposition that comes with customisation. We have created a network through word of mouth. So, we don’t have to spend anything on branding as such,” Chaitanya says.
The face of future skincare trends
According to a report released by Redseer Consulting in 2017, the Indian cosmetics industry is expected to grow to approximately $20 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 25 percent. In comparison, the global cosmetics market is growing steadily at 4.3 percent CAGR and will reach approximately $450 billion by 2025.
This means that by 2025, India will constitute five percent of the total global cosmetics market and become one of the top five global markets by revenue.
But the shift will be towards seeking more customised solutions as well. “We believe that one in three women will move towards customised products by 2025. This is because of the confluence of three significant trends: mass internet adoption enabling feedback loops and user input, AI-enabled understanding of ingredient effectiveness, and modern manufacturing technologies. These will cause a significant shift in the next five to 10 years,” Chaitanya adds.
The other players in the customised skincare space are Clinique, Freshistry, Wikka, Just Herbs, Y'OUR Skin, and Nykaa Routine Finder, among others. Clinique recently launched its personalised moisturiser range.
Chaitanya says close to a million women have registered and taken their SkinID for their in-depth skin analysis. The company claims to have grown to $8 million annual run rate (ARR) in a very short span of time.
“We are already profitable and are growing at almost 30-40 percent month on month,” says Chaitanya.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)