Venture Voices: SkinLync

Venture Voices: SkinLync

Skinlync is a self-management platform bringing together everything users need to conquer their skin condition. Our platform specifically matches user profiles to others with similar conditions and details. It helps users get personal and effective results thanks to the support of leading dermatologists and hundreds of patients across the UK.

Skinlync supports users throughout their entire self-management journey, from the initial symptoms to consulting a medical professional and to living with a skin condition. It not only gives users the tools they need to manage their condition but also connects them to a whole community with a wide range of experience to help them, in a much faster and efficient way.

Skinlync pitching at Accelerate Cambridge: [email protected] earlier this year.

We fulfil our mission with 3 key features, namely LINK, LEARN, and LOG. These features were developed after interviewing more than 100 patients and help users in terms of peer to peer support, mental health guidance, access to reliable information and tracking their condition. All these features are fully functional on our website (www.skinlync.com) now!

Our platform welcomes new users with an interactive chatbot, collecting data about their symptoms, history of condition, images and general information. This onboarding process lasts for 3-4 minutes and all information collected is carefully analysed by our proprietary analytics software to present the most personalised results. User can then access the Skinlync features and recommendations via their personalised dashboard.

How did your founding team meet?

Our journey began in 2019 at the University of Cambridge’s flagship start-up programme, Venture Creation Weekend, where our business idea came in first place. Our team was formed whilst we were Cambridge MBA students and after our win, we were invited to pursue our idea under Accelerate Cambridge. Since then, we have designed our software, worked with more than 100 potential users, built our platform from scratch, secured two medical advisors, won grants, performed user testing and recently launched.

The support we got from Accelerate Cambridge was a game changer. With the extensive coaching, entrepreneurship training, and network opportunities, we had the chance to develop our start-up from an abstract idea to a fully-fledged business within a year’s time. Accelerate Cambridge also facilitated many networking events with industry experts and angel investors. The insights we learnt in these events helped us with research and customer development, protecting our intellectual property, branding and refining our business model.

First place winners of the Venture Creation Weekend 2019 (Biotech and Healthcare).

Skinlync emanated from one of our co-founders’ personal experience dealing with chronic eczema for 30 years, whereby she found that interaction with other patients who have a similar condition greatly contributed to her self-management success. We wanted to make this real for everyone who has a skin condition. Each feature of Skinlync has been carefully designed based on first-hand patient experience, supported by input from medical advisors. The core Skinlync team comprises three individuals of varying background and skill, driven by the mission of simplifying self-management of skin conditions.

Yigit Akar, Chief Executive Officer of Skinlync, brings his experience in project management, operations, and entrepreneurship to this team. Yigit has an MBA from the University of Cambridge and a BSc and MSc in electronics engineering.

Atiqah Zaki is the Chief Community Officer, a role she assumes proudly as an eczema sufferer for over 30 years. Skinlync was Atiqah’s brainchild, drawing on the difficulties she faced in managing her skin condition and what helped her conquer it. Atiqah also has an MBA from the University of Cambridge.

Cemal Bilgic, our Chief Technology Officer, is a full stack developer fluent in 8 programming languages and leading the software development for Skinlync. He was a software developer for one of Turkey’s leading financial institutions and worked with three start-ups before.

Beyond the core team, we also have two experienced dermatologists as our medical advisors. Dr. Nev Bordet, a consultant dermatologist based in Cambridge and Dr. Oya Oguz, a professor dermatologist with over 30 years of experience and a pioneer of dermatology in Turkey.

What are you doing right now? What are you planning to do? Exciting places, goal, vision?

We interviewed over 100 individuals with a skin condition during the first COVID-19 lockdown for user research.

We recently finished our user testing phase and launched our official software. There had been an abundance of interest, especially from online communities, and we received very encouraging feedback! Within this month, we will be launching across 150 patient support groups within Cambridge and beyond.

From November 2020 onwards, as well as developing our current platform with the users, we will be working on new features including analytics functionalities for accumulated user records, customised filters for patient-to-patient matching, expanding our database to include self-care videos from dermatologists, a portal to directly ask questions to a doctor or our community and online group consultations (for psychodermatology). We will also be improving our image analytics capabilities for analysing skin rashes and calibrating Skinlync for use by GPs or dermatologists to provide self-management instructions to their patients.

Our mission is to build the most comprehensive and personalised self-management platform by leveraging the power of personal experiences to benefit both patients and the NHS. Our core belief is that patients can play a bigger role in the self-management journey of other patients. Hence, we want to revolutionise the way patients interact with one another, complementing the existing healthcare system.

What are the LL and top tips for other entrepreneurs?

Since we started Skinylnc in 2019, we learnt so much and every single day was like a roller coaster.  After countless of software test runs and hundreds of patient interviews, we learnt that entrepreneurship is not necessarily about the things you know but more so about the art of dealing with what you don’t know. You should accept the fact that you don’t know or don’t have the time to learn everything, and work with subject matter experts.

Yigit Akar

Yigit Akar

Yigit Akar, CEO & Co-founder of Skinlync, brings his experience in project management, operations, and entrepreneurship to this team. Yigit has an MBA from the University of Cambridge and a BSc. and MSc. in electronics engineering. He has 5+ years of project management experience in the European renewable energy space and holds Six Sigma Black Belt certification. He also developed 2 patented systems improving energy efficiency of domestic appliances and subsequently sold the patents to a large multinational consumer electronics company. Yigit is also working as a research associate with the Circular Economy Centre in University of Cambridge.
Yigit Akar

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