On Providing Personalized Skincare Recommendations

Published: September 27th, 2019
Siqi Mou
Founder, HelloAva
from New York, New York, USA
started May 2017
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Hello! Who are you and what are you working on?

My name is Siqi Mou and I am the founder of HelloAva, AI-powered skincare consultant you can access anywhere anytime on your phone. We are your personal dermatologist to customize you a beauty routine that’s tailored to your skin type. And we track the progress with you to make sure your skin is improving over time.

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

I worked in finance for many years (Morgan Stanley, PIMCO, The Fed) and then also worked in Bloomberg Television as a financial news anchor before going into entrepreneurship.

Sometimes you just have to trust your gut, take that leap of faith and take a chance on yourself.

I learned the methodology of how to start a business plan, test the value proposition, interview prospect customers during an incredible class in business school and then decided to pursue the journey.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

We went through lots of iterations. What we introduced to the market 2 years ago was very different from what you see and experience today.

We first introduced a chatbot on SMS to understand customers’ feedback + experience and then based on that, we built out another platform using Facebook messenger. With the chatbots, we got a pretty good understanding of what users like vs not like and built out the current experience today on the web application.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We recently reached 70k subscribers which are a huge milestone and closed a world-wide partnership with CPG giant Unilever.

We hope to make our service more available across different platforms (not just on our own website) and in more countries.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Everything could go wrong when you are getting started with something and creating something new and innovative from 0.

The odds are always against you and you will not be able to make the right decision for everything. It is extremely important to surround ourselves with advisors, industry veterans, experienced founders to help guide us.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Zapier. It allows us to automate many flows seamlessly and quick. Our service was natively built across so many different platforms and these tools gives us the power to connect them and make the customer experience a lot better than before

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

My favorite business book is From Good to Great, a book we read during my time at Stanford Graduate School of Business. It taught me how to impeccable standards for myself and the team in order to make products and services that people cannot live without.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

You will never feel truly ready. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut, take that leap of faith and take a chance on yourself.

Where can we go to learn more?

Try our service out at www.Helloava.co it’s free!

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