At college, Conor experienced firsthand the struggle and confusion that acne can cause, as well as a lack of information and support for the different factors that could be causing it.He then realized he was part of the 744 million globally that suffer from it and wanted to create something to help them. That’s when SkinTheory was born.
Conor Lamb and Moé Weisensee are the two co-founders behind SkinTheory. Today we’re talking to Conor…
I’m the founder of SkinTheory and I’m here to talk with BFF about my startup journey.
Where are you from?
I’m from the US, Philly, I’m half Irish as well. I went to the University of Pittsburgh and studied Computer Science.
What was your first ever job?
I was actually a Caddy at a Country Club, it was my first customer service experience. I learned a lot, played a lot of golf, and did it from age 14 to after college.
Tell us about your path to first becoming an entrepreneur…
I always wanted to start my own business, there was some sort of American Dream there, I don’t know if that’s real but… I tried to sell stuff on eBay as a kid. I had a business selling car wiring things for car audio. Made a little bit of money, then I went to college and had a bunch of ideas but didn’t do anything until the idea for SkinTheory came along.
How do you like Berlin? What’s your favourite activity?
I love Berlin, it’s amazing. I moved here from Dublin. Berlin is a great hybrid between a great tech hub, but it’s also incredibly artistic. I love to have both sides. And you can drink outside, which is a huge plus. The winter can be a bit grey for a long time, but that’s ok.
Favourite bar is Loophole in Neukölln, it’s a punk/dive bar that’s pretty cool.
How did you meet your co-founder, Moé?
Kinda strange story with him. Y Combinator is a startup school for video learning. They introduced this co-founder dating service (or matching), basically like Tinder for co-founders.
I met Moé through that service and then we met for a coffee. He really dug the SkinTheory idea. He’s a smart cookie.
If you could invite any 3 people to a dinner party, who would they be?
James Murphy, he’s lead singer of LCD Soundsystem.
Louis Theroux, he’s gotta have some off-camera stuff that’s just bananas.
Steve Coogan, he’s hilarious.
Describe SkinTheory in 2 sentences.
SkinTheory takes the mystery out of skin care. It’s a tracker to track your skin and tell you what is causing your acne, suggest what you should do to solve it and what’s best for your skin specifically. It can also track your different treatments and surface information that’s actually useful instead of miracle promises. Our new app has the ability to track diet and periods to better understand and solve skin problems associated.
What inspired you to create SkinTheory?
It started from college when I first got really bad acne at 19. I was going to the dermatologist a bunch, did Accutane a bunch, it was incredibly hard to solve. It’s also really depressing and destroys your confidence. I would leave class early because I felt so uncomfortable.
Eventually I decided to be much more scientific about it and started tracking my skin. I used Google Sheets to track each experiment I did. After 6 months or so I figured out the combination that worked for me.
So after I got rid of it, I was working as a software engineer at Qualtrics and I wanted to build something that could help other people solve their acne. So I built a little app, and people started downloading it! And that was the start of SkinTheory.
What would you say the top qualities are of a successful entrepreneur?
Persistence – being able to keep doing things and deal with a lot of nos.
Pragmatism – being able to say, ‘yes, that idea I had was bad and let’s shift it, test it and ask users’ and not take things personally.
Luck, but that’s not a personality trait.
What is your experience with Berlin Founder Fund (BFF) and how has it helped you to succeed so far?
My experience with BFF has been amazing, they were one of the first people to take a chance on me and SkinTheory, it was life-changing. We had a year where we were able to be funded and continue to polish our idea. From the start, Silicon Allee’s co-founder, Travis, and the team could see the power hidden in SkinTheory that we needed help to unlock.
The mentorship we got from BFF is unparalleled from all the third-party mentors we had. It’s good pragmatic information, but there’s also so much in the startup world that’s just tribal knowledge that you won’t be able to get if you’re not talking to these people. We wouldn’t be able to do that on our own.
Thanks BFF for all the mentorship and support, you can find out more about SkinTheory at skintheory.app.
The Berlin Founders Fund is financed through funds from the European Union (European Social Fund) and the State of Berlin.
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