Luckily, new technologies, including AI applications, are helping to transform this narrative. At Haut.AI, we are building applications that empower consumers to understand their skin and its condition through easy-to-use tools – like selfie-powered skin analysis. We’re thrilled to contribute to a future of the beauty industry where consumers feel confident about their skincare choices, thereby reducing product waste and supporting sustainability.
HautAI CEO Anastasia Georgievskaya joined Alex Zhavoronkovl, Insilico Meidicine CEO for a conversation on these areas and the many other aspects of our work, including our experience with the vibrant Estonian startup sector and the synergies between skincare and longevity.
Alex: Few people know Haut.AI as a longevity company, but for the past five years, every year, we meet at the ARDD conferences, first in Basel and now in Copenhagen. Can you please describe your interest in longevity and how Haut.AI fits into the ecosystem?
Anastasia: I should start by saying what probably every research paper about skin opens with: the skin is a very complex system. It’s the barrier that separates us from the entire world, but it is also perceived as a reflection of our health and wellness. The fact that skin condition is affected by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors, as well as natural aging processes, makes the skin a perfect aging model.
If you think of skin from a practical aging research perspective, it is relatively easy to sample. Not many people will agree to a biopsy, but the range of tools available to study the skin is just enormous. You can do omics, genetics tests, swabs, tape strippings, biophysical measurements, and more. You will most likely only need to do it once, or from time to time perhaps. But, what about selfies? If a person can post a selfie on their social media at least once a week, then they can take a photo of sufficient quality to study their skin. Just think about it: you can generate multiple data points about your health and aging pace with something as simple and ubiquitous as a selfie. That’s incredible.
Alex: Haut.AI is now a global leader in AI for skin care, and all of the top brands doing their own R&D are working with you. What are the key factors for this success, and how did you manage to achieve this out of Estonia?
Anastasia: First, one thing that makes Estonian startups so good at the export of IT services is that they never assume they can just stay in Estonia. Unlike the US, China or UK markets, Estonia is pretty small. This is why founders in Estonia think big and act bold from the very beginning.
Second, I credit our success to the high standards we have always celebrated in our company. We are always trying to use novel techniques and new frameworks, and we familiarize ourselves with the latest research papers so we know every tiny detail and the limitations of every algorithm. It also helps that our founders and first employees had scientific backgrounds. Science teaches people to be curious and to always ask “why?” We ask “why?” and “what if?” all the time.
Lastly, HautAI is an IT company for skincare and longevity. Many beauty companies are trying to be IT companies. But can we say a marketplace with an AI component, like a chatbot or a mobile app, makes it an IT company? I’d say it does not. At Haut.AI, our development is executed in two-week sprints. We update our software twice a month. This year, we have already had 27 releases and delivered hundreds of new features.
Having great flexibility and agility in our product development has helped us to react very quickly to fast-changing consumer trends. This gives brands working with us a competitive advantage, allowing them to keep up with the pace of skincare digitalization and even predict consumer needs so they can be proactive.
Alex: The US is a major market for beauty products, and you are already working with Ulta Beauty. Why not move the company to the US entirely?
Anastasia: We started in Estonia as it is just an amazing country for innovation. Everything is digital, the startup community is incredible, and the weather is rainy, so you can focus fully on work.
Jokes aside, our journey started in Estonia, but as we work globally (in 32 countries) and the US is such a huge market, at some point, we will establish a US branch.
Read the full interview here.