[The Turning Point] How a chance meet with Mukesh Bansal and post-pregnancy skin issues led to the launch of SkinKraft

The Turning Point is a series of short articles that focuses on the moment when an entrepreneur hit upon their winning idea. Today, we look at Hyderabad-based customisable skincare brand SkinKraft.
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Who doesn’t want flawless, glowing skin? But can a one-size-fits-all formula really work on every skin type?

Hyderabad-based SkinKraft doesn’t think so, which is why the skincare startup focusses on customised solutions for Indian women.

“This is because no two individuals are the same. Our skin is as unique as we are. But commercial companies make products for the masses,” says Chaitanya Nallan, Co-founder and CEO of SkinKraft.

The skincare brand taps artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technology to provide dermatologically approved and customised skincare solutions to customers. SkinKraft, a brand under parent company IncNut Digital, recently raised $4 million from RPSG Ventures, in its Series A round.

Founding team at SkinKraft | Image Source: Team SkinKraft



But what exactly led to the launch of the customised skincare brand? YourStory recently got into a conversation with Chaitanya to know more. 

The skinny on skincare

In 2008, IIT-Kharagpur and ISB Hyderabad alum Chaitanya, then running his company mGinger, an advertising platform, was at an entrepreneurial meet. He recalls pitching his startup’s idea to Kalaari Capital, where he met Mukesh Bansal, now CEO of Cure.fit. 

“Back then, Myntra was not what it is today. Mukesh was pitching an idea for a company that made customisable T-shirts, and I found the idea really cool,” Chaitanya says.

After that, the idea of ‘customising’ products according to consumer preferences got under Chaitanya’s skin. 

In 2011, Chaitanya, along with Sangram Simha and Veerendra Shivhare, founded IncNut Digital, which operated two women-centric digital media platforms, Stylecraze.com and Momjunction.com.

“We used to promote a lot of skincare brands through these platforms and got feedback from customers. Most women did not like the products that they were using,” Chaitanya recalls. 

On the personal front, Chaitanya noticed how his wife’s skin changed and became ultra-sensitive during her pregnancy. “I noticed my wife’s patterns as well. She would buy a bunch of new stuff, and then throw a lot away,” he says. 

Through IncNut’s platforms, the team conducted in-depth surveys to understand women’s issues with skincare products. “After the results, we decided to talk to dermatologists to understand why most products did not work on customers,” he says. 

After continuous discussions with dermatologists and Ayurveda specialists, the team zeroed on the fact that no two people have the same skin and that skincare products needed to be customised.

Conceptualised in 2017, SkinKraft started retailing online in mid-2018. 

For every new customer, it asks around 30-odd questions, similar to that of a dermatologist to try and understand the skin type, acne type, and other inputs. Post this, based on the result or skin ID, the platform suggests three products to its customers: one cleanser, one barrier repair (or moisturiser) and an active, aimed at solving skin problems such as acne or blemishes. 

The road ahead 

“When we started, our accuracy rate was 54 percent, today our Skin ID offers 82 percent accuracy rate,” Chaitanya says.

Starting with a customised skincare regime for women, SkinKraft has now expanded its offerings to haircare as well. A team of dermatologists, formulators, and Ayurvedic experts formulate products. So far, three million users have taken the Skin ID test and the startup has more than six lakh paying users

According to Chaitanya, SkinKraft’s average monthly revenue is Rs 8 crore and its ARR stands at Rs 100 crore.

India’s skincare and cosmetics industry is massive. According to Goldstein Research, the Indian cosmetics industry was valued at $11.16 billion in 2017 and was anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.91 percent between 2017 and 2030. 

But SkinKraft believes customisation sets its offerings apart.

Going forward, “we want to go deeper into the hair segment and plan to launch customisable immunity products by the end of this month”, Chaitanya says. 

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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