In our country, there is only 1 doctor for every 11,000 patients. When it comes to dermatologists, there is only 1 for every 1,00,000 Indians, according to the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists, and Leprologists (IADVL). Many Indians suffer from basic skincare problems like acne and dandruff. Yet 90% of the population has never visited a dermatologist. On the contrary, they rely on self-created products which are of no use or in rare times even dangerous.
While working for Google, Guna Kakulapati and Ramakrishna R thought of starting a startup that would address this issue. Guna is a graduate of IIT Madras and an MS graduate of Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He had previously worked at Amazon and Google. Ramakrishna studied engineering at PES University and worked at Google for more than a decade.
Together with Dr Charu Sharma, they launched CureSkin in 2016. Dr Charu herself is a dermatologist. CureSkin claims to be India’s first company that uses AI and technology for the skincare domain. Users can click and upload their images, to get diagnoses from an AI system.
The treatments are for acne, dark spots, pigmentation, wrinkles and other common skin disorders. The venture's initial challenges were to create an AI system that correctly diagnosis users’ conditions and to create trust in the minds of the customers regarding their work. They have been used and trusted by people and 12 lakh plus users.
They were able to overcome these challenges and gain success in their work. They were the only Indian startup to be a part of Y Combinator Summer Batch’s AI cohort in 2017.
Immediately after theory received $1 million in seed funds from Khosla Ventures, Gagarin Capital, Y Combinator, and Heartbeat labs. Later in January 2020, they raised $500,000 in a funding round led by SenseAI Ventures. This month they raised $5 million in their Series A round led by JSW Ventures with participation from Sharrp Ventures and other existing investors.
Will this AI-led venture make space for itself in India’s skincare market estimated at the value of $2.7 billion by 2023?