San Francisco-based Proven is claiming to be “the most well-researched skin care on earth,” according to Ming Zhao, Co-Founder and CEO of Proven.

Her statement is no marketing hyperbole: Proven won MIT’s 2018 Artificial Intelligence Award.

“Our products are based on the largest database in beauty, which we developed in-house,” said Ming.

Nicknamed, The Skin Genome Project, Proven’s proprietary database was built using bots and algorithms that analyze more than 20 million consumer reviews and testimonials; 100,000 skin care products; 20,238 skin care ingredients, from arnica to zinc; and more than 4,000 scientific journal articles.

Proven’s aim, as the name suggests, is to prove the potency of its skin care offerings by eliminating time-consuming and expensive aspects of skin care: trial and error.

The company, which joined Y Combinator’s tech accelerator in 2018, uses artificial intelligence to formulate bespoke products tailored for each individual skin type, and that evolve with users. Customers first fill out an online skin assessment questionnaire that addresses genetics, ethnicity, skin type, lifestyle, environment, climate and skin goals, giving a holistic picture of skin health. Then, they receive insights and tailormade products based on findings from Proven’s comprehensive database.

Proven’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Amy Yuan, a Stanford computational scientist with PhD pedigree, who has specialized in big-scale supercomputing simulations, created the database that is used for Proven’s products.

Proven has cleaned up and structured the data in its database, including using fraud detection algorithms to combat fake reviews, as part of its quest to process the data for patterns, and transform it into effective, customized skin care.

Our products are based on the largest database in beauty, which we developed in-house. — Ming Zhao, Co-Founder and CEO, Proven

The brand’s proprietary products are formulated in collaboration with Dr. Hollmig, Head of Aesthetic Dermatology at Stanford University, who also created Proven’s questionnaire. “Answering the quiz is like getting a diagnosis from the aesthetic dermatologist’s chair,” said Ming.

An award-winning cosmetic chemist who helps cull insights from the database and formulate the brand’s products is also part of the core team.

Proven currently has a portfolio of more than 400 combinations of products that are custom-tuned for skin needs. “Our formulas are modular, and different key active ingredients, at different levels, are added,” said Ming.

Proven uses deep learning algorithms to link specific ingredients to desired skin care outcomes. The brand uses clean beauty ingredients, minus controversial ingredients such as parabens, SLS, alcohol, triclosan and animal byproducts.

Product price points are between $30 and $100. Proven is still in the soft launch phase, with an official launch slated for summer 2019.

“Personalization is not a new phenomenon. Not so long ago, people would walk to their neighboring pharmacy for personal recommendations. What we are doing is serving people in the way they want to be served. Our database allows us to do that at scale,” said Ming.

Proven’s personalized product model is also highly inclusive, enabling it to serve ethnic minorities that are underserved by beauty brands.

“We see ourselves as a data company in the cloak of a consumer company. Therefore our products keep getting better. We are creating the de facto source of truth for all beauty. Consumers are waiting for AI to transform their day-to-day products. They are waiting for skin care to deliver,” said Ming.

While Proven is focusing on skin care with a range of serums, toners and creams, the brand is already eyeing its database, which is growing all the time, for other beauty and wellness categories including body care and hair care.

“We have already served more than one thousand customers. We have our sights on taking the U.S. by storm, and we have a unique and differentiated story.”