The Scientist Behind Skincare
Elsa Jungman - Founder of Elsi Beauty
Growing up I wanted to be a tornado chaser. I was fascinated by tornadoes and hurricanes and wanted to study meteorology. I wasn’t the biggest fan of math and science and was really bad at both. I was so passionate about it, however, that I worked my butt off when I got to college. I was part of study groups and made sure I understood each concept before going into my exams. I had to study long hours and would be in the library late into the night. I ended up doing my undergrad in Life Sciences and Technology, my Masters in Skin Physiology, Pharmacology, and Delivery, and got a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry and Skin Delivery with honors from France. I now have my own startup called Elsi Beauty and am developing a line of clean and minimalist skincare products focusing on the skin ecosystem.
It’s been a struggle convincing investors the need for my skincare line. I always get asked why I don’t just work for a big company and build products for them. I’ve already done that and, if you don’t have the same vision as the founder, it is difficult to work for them. I am just getting started to raise my first round of funding. I was part of the Silicon Valley Beautytech accelerator and found wonderful mentors, advisers and a community that gave me the confidence that I needed to raise funding.
Being a female founder is not easy. Seeing some of the startups that do get funding can be shocking sometimes. There are a lot of buzzwords out there and products get sold based off of those words. The sad part is that I know what I am talking about and my research is based on science yet I still have a hard time. I don’t want to unnecessary buzzwords to my company name or description if that’s not what I am selling. I am building a clean skincare routine that is backed by research and I plan to stay true to myself and my product and bootstrap as much of it as I can because that is how much I believe in it. I just joined The Refiners accelerator and received my first investment. I got ten times what I had been working with and even though it feels like a lot of money, everyone is saying I am going to run out of that money very quickly. Starting a skincare company is not easy financially. Regardless, I want to be an eye opener in the beauty industry. I want to enable people to add more data and science to their skincare buying decisions. I want to be close to the consumer, which is something most scientists don’t normally do. There are a lot of false claims in the skin industry and scientists need to start putting themselves at the center stage to tell people the truth and I am leading the way for that.
A lot of people question me when I tell them I am starting my own skin care company. People tell me it’s a ‘crowded space’ and that I should just work for someone else. I am passionate about my work and getting my product out there. I feel like there is an opportunity to disrupt the skincare industry and explain why we should stop taking our skin for granted and that layering unnecessary products can lead to skin sensitivity or conditions.