Founder Friday OC: "Founding A Startup Is Like A Gambling Addiction"

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While Founder Friday isn’t a ‘support group’, it’s like a gamblers-anonymous meeting.

By Yaneth Acosta (Co-Founder & President, SKINMETRO™)

Last week, SKINMETRO™ co-founder, Lisa O’rrell, and I had the honor of co-hosting the launch of Women 2.0′s Founder Friday in Orange County, California. We were amused because we have tons of advice about what not to do, but we’re still not sure exactly what to do – it’s been four years. Lisa equates founding a startup to a gambling addiction – you throw everything on the table every day believing you’re going to beat the odds and win the jackpot.

While Founder Friday isn’t a ‘support group’ - it’s an appropriate substitution for a gamblers-anonymous meeting.

The Elevator Pitch

Hello, I’m Yaneth Acosta, co-founder of SKINMETRO SKINEXPERT™. SKINMETRO™ is a B2B2C PaaS that enables Skincare Brands to manage their Department Store counter business and delivers the patent-pending SKINEXPERT™ sales application.

The analogy – Think Siri meets dermatologist in the sales associate’s hand! Like all good doctors, SKINMETRO’s SKINEXPERT™ asks the questions, processes the Consumer response data and quantifies it against Harvard Dermatology-based skin analysis scales to deliver an expert-quality skin analysis, subscriber skincare brand purchase recommendations, and healthy skin tips.

Our ‘Aha!’ Moment

Our “Aha!” moment was during a visit to a particular skincare counter at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. Curious as to what does a one thousand dollar jar of moisturizer look like? We stood uncomfortably by while the woman before us asked the brand’s sales associate to advise her as to what her skin needed. Not one but three sales associates all chimed in overwhelming her with marketing buzz terms. It was obvious to us, 20 years in medical esthetics, they themselves didn’t fully comprehend the ingredient technology. Happy to help a skincare shopper in need, I consulted with her and sold her her what I could only dream of.

That day changed our lives forever!

We set out to design software that mimicked a medical skin analysis consultation. Decoding each consumer’s genetic skin type and conditions, and discover their preferences to recommend purchase solutions from each skincare brand’s product offerings while empowering the sales associate with ingredient information to communicate intelligently. SKINMETRO makes this possible.

Our Biggest Challenges

  • Building a business and revenue model that doesn’t currently exist in the skincare industry.
  • Forging a path in the tech world where we didn’t speak the language – thank God for Google!
  • Educating male investors that schlepping face cream is a $50 billion dollar industry
  • Creating a $100M revenue model when IPO means millions of users and NO revenue model!
  • Hearing “If this thing can work – why hasn’t Estee Lauder done it?”
  • Pitching a B2B2C service technology for brick & mortar…seriously, if we hear – ‘why can’t you make that a consumer app?’ one more time…

What Keeps Us Going

Passion, hearing women say “I can’t wait till SKINMETRO launches” and the Women 2.0 website.

Our latest favorite is Meredith Perry‘s “How To Be a Technology Innovator Without an Engineering Degree or Asbergers” TEDx talk. Meredith tells our story:

“A lot of creativity in this world is not being harnessed – because people don’t have the right letters next to their names. People are too afraid to push forward their ides – that can’t possibly work – because THEY thought of it. But by thinking differently, by thinking around the box, by thinking around corners – YOU can out-think the great thinkers. DREAM out loud, ASK questions, TAKE risks, NEVER give up, KEEP pushing, and BELIEVE in yourself even when no one else does.”

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

Photo credit: Ani Bee on Flickr. Yaneth Acosta’s headshot and the picture of SKINMETRO co-founders Yaneth Acosta and Lisa O’rrell was taken by Deja Morlan.

About the guest blogger: Yaneth Acosta is the Co-Founder and President of SKINMETRO™@yanethSKINMETRO.