Proven Before Shark Tank
Ming Zhao founded her Proven skincare line in 2017. Proven uses an AI linked to a massive database to provide customers with personalized skincare products. Ming Zhao went on Shark Tank in 2019; unfortunately, none of the Sharks made her an offer, so she continued the business alone. Proven benefited greatly from its appearance on Shark Tank, and in 2022, Proven skincare opened investment to the public through its website. Proven’s lifetime revenue as of 2023 exceeds $37 million.
Many seek smooth and healthy skin; however, each person’s skin is unique and finding the skincare products your skin needs might not be an easy task. Genetic traits, environment, and even climate can affect your skin in various ways. Ming Zhao came up with Proven as a solution.
Proven is a personalized skincare line that picks the right skincare products to fit your skin. Customers who want to use Proven skincare first need to take a survey to determine the products their skin needs. A skincare regimen is then carefully selected based on the survey they had filled out. The skin regimen selected consists of three skin cream bottles to administer during certain times of the day.
Proven combs through a massive database of consumer reviews and research papers to determine the best skincare regimen for each customer’s skin. Proven provides effective products to help with anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, acne, sensitivity, and redness of the skin. Returning customers make up most of Proven’s customer base, proving that the AI-driven personalized skincare regimen works well for most customers.
Ming, a Harvard business graduate, founded Proven in 2017. She took up Amy Yuan as a business partner, who created The Skin Genome Project for the company. Surprisingly, both Ming and Amy were pregnant when they were starting up the business. Proven raised funds from various investors to develop the database and AI. Ming believed Proven would revolutionize the skincare industry with its groundbreaking database and AI. Ming went on Shark Tank hoping to find an investor willing to help market and grow the company in the future.
Proven on Shark Tank
Ming Zhao was on season 11 of Shark Tank seeking $500,000 for a 5% stake in her company, Proven. Ming explained how Proven worked to the Sharks. She walked them through the process of taking the quiz, showing them how easy it is to get a personalized skincare regimen from Proven. Ming gave each Shark a personalized sample. She stated that 20% of Proven’s customers are men.
Ming claimed that Proven’s database, The Skin Genome Project, has won MIT’s AI Technology of the year award. She stated that the database is proprietary to Proven, and no other company could use it. The Sharks were concerned that it would be hard to inform potential customers about how the company works.
Ming cited that Proven had made $110,000 in sales in a two-month beta trial earlier that year. During the beta trial, Proven mainly sold and marketed its products through Facebook advertisements. The company spent $90,000 on marketing during that period. Ming claimed that Proven was on track to make $65,000 in sales for the month of filming.
Ming also said that Proven has a licensing agreement for $3.5 million to use their Skin Genome Project database. This interested Kevin, who was glad to help if Ming was willing to sell their database to major beauty brands. At the time of filming, Proven had raised $6 million and is projecting to do $3 million in sales for 2019. Ming claimed the company would likely not break even in 2020, which concerned the Sharks.
Daymond John claimed he didn’t know much about the skin care industry, so he was out.
Mark Cuban stated that what Ming said about the AI didn’t add up, so he was out.
Anne Wojcicki had experience with skincare products, but she didn’t believe there was enough data to support AI-based skincare, so she was out.
Lori Greiner thought it was too early and wouldn’t get anything back on her investment for a long time, so she was out.
Kevin O’Leary had a simple answer. No.
Without securing a deal from the Sharks, Ming left the Shark Tank, hoping to prove them wrong.
Proven Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
After Shark Tank, Proven had a spike in sales and gained many repeating customers. The marketing boost from the company’s appearance on Shark Tank allowed Proven to make over $3 million in sales in 2019, just as Ming had projected! Roughly 33% of Proven’s sales in 2020 were from repeat customers. As a result of the publicity from appearing on Shark Tank, Proven has been able to greatly cut down on marketing costs, allowing for higher overall profit. Proven received numerous positive reviews from satisfied customers. The company’s webpage states that 84% of customers claim to have more rested skin when waking up, 87% claim to have softer skin, and 94% claim to have smoother skin.
In 2021, Proven was chosen for Going Public, a streaming series that helps companies grow by providing business advice, connections, and publicity. Going Public also allowed viewers to directly invest in Proven, which helped the company grow during 2021. In 2022, Proven opened investment to anyone directly from the company’s website. The public funding allowed Proven to develop its Skin Genome Project database further and focus its effort on ensuring the best products for customers.
Proven proved successful despite not getting a Shark on board for the business. Proven was featured in many magazines and news outlets such as The New York Times, CNBC, The Today Show, People Magazine, and many more. In 2022, Proven also received a personalized skincare patent, helping the company eliminate knockoffs. The company didn’t stop there; Proven won Glossy’s 2022 Beauty Award for the Best Use of Technology category.
Proven’s rapid growth has certainly proven the Sharks wrong. As of 2023, Proven’s lifetime revenue exceeds $37 million. The company’s massive success could be attributed to the widely successful database Proven uses, The Skin Genome Project, and Ming’s efforts to market and grow the company. Proven is sure to grow further in 2023, taking over the personalized skincare market. For more updates and information, visit Proven’s website here.