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This Estonian Startup Is Using AI to Create Personalized Self-Care Routines

What Haut does

Haut.AI is a woman-led Eastonian AI startup pioneering next-gen self-care, using selfies to deliver accurate analysis and recommendations for skincare and haircare. Its best-in-class R&D analyzes the image, lifestyle, and environmental data for precise reports and suggestions.

The Current Landscape

Beauty manufacturers and retailers struggle to help customers match products with their unique needs. With so many product options on offer, consumers often end up with poor product fits. It can be defeating for customers to feel like they aren’t making progress with their self-care, leading to low self-esteem and poor self-image and discouraging them from shopping with a given brand or retailer.

This generalization of beauty products for different skin and hair types is ineffective and can be damaging too. For some brands, it has become a standard that the same products are marketed for fair and deep skin tones, whereas the difference in how to care for both skin types is huge! For example, brands in the beauty and skincare sectors should offer gentle cleansers for melanin-rich and acne-prone skin since this skin type is more delicate and prone to damage than lighter skin tones. Unfortunately, many retailers and manufacturers think extensive RD is required for the personalization of products or are convinced that implementing personalization solutions requires extensive hardware investment. But they couldn’t be more wrong - Haut.AI’s tech can be implemented in less than 48 hours.

Reluctance to use non-invasive beauty analytics like Haut.AI’s dates back to competitors bringing a non-market- ready solution, including “perceived” but inaccurate personalization. Some of these didn’t perform well across demographics either, discriminating against other skin, comparing it to a young skin standard, or performing less accurately on melanin-rich skin. It took Haut.AI almost five years to get their software market-ready to ensure a 98% accuracy compared to laboratory conditions analysis, having trained the algorithms on over 3 million selfies. The team at Haut.AI made sure that the analytics performed were suited to the individual circumstances of the users. What’s more, unlike other beauty intelligence software, Haut.AI’s predictions are based predominantly on image data gathered rather than user surveys which are prone to self-perception bias.

Currently, Haut.AI has over 80 commercial clients, including one of the biggest US beauty retailers - Ulta Beauty. Over the next 12 months, Haut.AI plans to launch tooling for acne and enamel analysis, pivoting from ‘skincare analysis software’ to full beauty intelligence solutions.

Company Birth Story

Haut.AI’s founders - Anastasia Georgievskaya and Konstantin Kiselev, met in 2016 at a programming competition. After exchanging ideas, they knew that combining their expertise in biotech (Anastasia) and programming (Konstantin) could potentially create an AI tool for body analytics. They wanted to develop skin and body analytics technology accessible to everyone, not just a privileged few. Recognizing the limitations of existing technologies, Anastasia and Konstantin sought to address them by using AI to simplify the process of obtaining data. They had two main objectives: to strip down the time it takes to perform body analysis and find solutions to perform analysis without a need for a physical sample and specialized equipment. In 2016, AI became more popular, GPUs became available for everyday users, and ImageNet appeared, while smartphones became cheaper, more popular, and had better camera quality. It made it possible for Anastasia and Konstantin to develop their first product: an image- based, AI-backed skin analysis SaaS software. It then took five years of research to bring fully market-ready software. Once it was launched, they gained more than 80 clients in the first year alone.

A Customer Story

A large segment of Haut.AI’s customers are beauty manufacturers, and retailers who want to provide unique personalized experiences and match their customer needs with the right products. Shoppers are often overwhelmed by choices. “Which product is right for me?” they ask, often guessing and trying products until they find something satisfactory. But satisfactory isn’t enough, at least not to Haut.AI’s clients, such as Ulta Beauty, who want to be advisors to their customers rather than salespeople. The guarantees of one-size-fits-all skincare products, or even products developed broadly by skin or hair type can often leave shoppers underwhelmed when the results fall short of what was promised. The reality is every individual has unique needs. There is no one-size- fits-all perfect skin or hair condition, and not all products will work the same for everyone.

Haut.AI clients recognize that over the years, the needs of their customers have changed, and they want to be a part of the shopper’s beauty journey. They see that finding the right product matches and setting realistic beauty expectations directly impacts customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. Today's society is data-driven: we use smart watches and other tools to track our well-being and can back the beauty routines by science. Personal data analysis means customers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that enables body tracing at the time of sale. In fact, Haut.AI has data showing its clients report a 100% increase in customer conversion rates in just three months of implementing the software.

Through retailers and manufacturers, Haut.AI revolutionizes the definition of self-care, making people realize that it's not about flawless skin or silky smooth hair but about knowing one’s body and finding ways to tune into its needs.

The Team Culture

Haut.AI’s team currently comprises 29 people who all are an inherent part of the company’s success. When they first realized they needed to expand their team, Anastasia and Konstantin filtered for passion for their project while recruiting their team. Having learned ‘on the job’ themselves, Haut.AI founders scouted their team from their network, personal contacts, and hackathons, caring equally about finding people with the right attitude and skills who can learn as they develop their careers. The first employee, Konstantin’s friend Timur Tlyachev, Haut.AI’s Head of Data Science, started working at Haut.AI in his free time while keeping his full-time job at a high-profile bank. This dedication is still present in Haut.AI’s team, which is so dedicated that some of them decide to go into the office in the middle of an Estonian snowstorm! Anastasia Georgievskaya, the CEO and co-founder of Haut.AI, says that the team feels like a family where everyone is collaborating and helping each other for the success of Haut.AI.

A founder quote

Our journey to create Haut.AI's product was challenging but fruitful. We collaborated with scientists, beauticians, and dermatologists to determine which external factors impact the skin and how to evaluate it. After analyzing over 3 million images, we learned that skin conditions vary greatly by demographics, ethnic background, lifestyle, geographical region, and weather. To ensure accuracy, we use various data sources, such as the weather API Breezometer, to access real-life data and minimize end-user need to supply information. With standardized data input collection and proprietary neural network processing, our skin condition analysis margin of error is less than 5%. Our success is thanks to our team, partners, and supporters.

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