Here's What Went Down With PROVEN Skincare After Shark Tank

If you're a skincare aficionado, and understand the importance of things like sunscreen layering and hydrating and moisturizing your skin, you might have heard of the brand PROVEN. Featured on "Shark Tank" and co-founded by Ming Zhao and Dr. Amy Yuan, the company generates specific skincare routines customized to each person's specific needs. Based on various factors like skin type and lifestyle, PROVEN has tapped into the personalized skincare market by using AI.


The idea came about after Zhao wanted to improve her skin, but couldn't find anything that worked for her. "[I] started investing in all kinds of expensive skincare products that promised miracles, that promised that I would see this result, but none of them actually delivered on their promise," she shared on the "How I Got There" podcast. Zhao then visited a specialist, realizing the only time she saw an improvement was after getting a bespoke consultation. "I, at that time, had an inkling to start a whole new approach to change how our skin and how the skincare industry treats skin," she shared. Zhao then teamed up with Yuan, and the two started using AI to analyze the skin.

Unlike a lot of entrepreneurs who apply for "Shark Tank," PROVEN was actually chosen by producers to go on the show. But Zhao told People she turned down the chance because she didn't think the company was ready. That all changed a year later though after PROVEN's early beta technology served thousands of customers.


PROVEN didn't land a deal on Shark Tank

Ming S. Zhao reached back out to "Shark Tank" when she felt PROVEN was ready for investment, and pitched her skincare concept to Daymond John, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Anne Wojcicki. Zhao appeared on Season 11, Episode 21 of the ABC show, which aired in May 2020, asking for $500,000 in exchange for 5% of her business. She revealed PROVEN was expected to pull in a very impressive $3 million in revenue for 2019, which got the entrepreneurs' attention. One thing that didn't do so well with the Sharks, though? Zhao's marketing numbers. She'd shelled out $90,000 in two months to advertise her products on Facebook, but only returned $110,000 in sales. And the Sharks weren't convinced. Cuban even accused the company of buying sales. The general consensus? The market was too saturated and the marketing hurdle was too big. And, with that, all five sharks opted out.


"I really wanted to make a deal with Anne [Wojcicki] before going in. However, she felt that skincare didn't need this level of personalization, which I strongly disagree with," Zhao told People following her foray into the tank. But it sounds like there's no bad blood. "I still appreciate telling the Sharks and America more about PROVEN. Being on the show further confirmed to me that hard work, optimism and tenacity do pay off — even if it may not be in the way that you initially expected," she said.

PROVEN proves a no deal doesn't always mean the end for a business

Even though PROVEN didn't land a deal on "Shark Tank," it certainly didn't spell the end. Ming Zhao admitted to Global Cosmetic Industry in 2021 that, despite not landing the $500,000 she asked for, the brand has still managed to go from strength to strength as a business. "The brand has experienced exceptional growth since its founding. We grew more than 2,000% our first year in the market, and now have $24 million in revenue run-rate in less than two years of launch and have built a customer base of over 100,000 paying customers," she shared. The entrepreneur also revealed the business had started to expand into the Canadian skincare market following her "Shark Tank" appearance. "This growth has been achieved due to our AI-driven approach that is akin to traditional tech companies where 80% of customers are on a subscription-based model," she said.


Zhao also said that even though her "Shark Tank" experience didn't work out the way she hoped, she still wouldn't discourage anyone else from going on the show.

PROVEN is still very much in business

With such impressive sales figures, it's probably no surprise to hear that PROVEN is still in business as of August 2023. Over on the brand's website, the company offers a skincare quiz for new customers to learn which products will work for them. The company has also expanded its range of skincare products to include everything from personalized cleansers, moisturizers, and night creams. But that's not all it's offering. The brand now offers eye creams, including a new eye cream duo.


The company has also managed to create quite the following. The brand boasts over 100,000 products sold and more than 35,000 five-star reviews. It's also built up quite an impressive following across social media. On Instagram, the brand has more than 134,000 followers, with another 19,000 followers on Facebook. Over on TikTok, it's amassed another 1,800 followers.

And, if you fancy taking on the role of a Shark to support the company, PROVEN is actually offering anyone the chance to invest. The company launched a website that lets you invest your own money to get in on the action, with shares being offered at $6.60 each.

PROVEN has big ideas for the future

It sounds like PROVEN won't be going anywhere anytime soon, as Ming Zhao has big ideas as the co-founder and CEO of the company. She shared her plans for the future with Global Cosmetic Industry in 2021, sharing that one of their major focuses will be using ever developing world of AI technology. "Further development of AI will see us taking our robust AI capabilities, and expanding it into other channels within wellness to complete our vision of building a portfolio of personalized wellness companies," she shared, explaining that she sees PROVEN expanding into different avenues including haircare, vitamins, and baby care. She also shared plans to introduce more products into the existing skincare line, sharing that this is in response to customer requests. In 2023, the company made its foray into fragrance by launching the new brand, Noteworthy. 


And it sounds like PROVEN could even be expanding beyond being just an online source, too, as the company has plans to showcase its products in retail stores, spas, and their own brick-and-mortar locations as well.

Yep. PROVEN really isn't going anywhere. Even without an investment from the Sharks.