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Founder of Skinive

Kirill Sokol

the journey by enty
Building AI Solution for Skin Health
Business is not only about money and paperwork. Most of all, it’s about people, inspiration, and passion. With that in mind, we present you the Journey — a project where entrepreneurs share how they started their business, what made them successful, what drives them, and how they came up with what they ended up doing.

Our today’s guest is Kirill Sokol — founder of Skinive
We liked the idea of focusing on health because it is one of the basic needs for people

Getting into Medtech

Originally, I’ve started my career in IT as a freelance developer which later led to taking over a small outsourcing company. Before starting Skinive, we developed other remote medicine solutions (telehealth — ed). After 10 years, my team and I decided to develop our own products, not something that was ordered by a contractor.
We liked the idea of creating health products because it is one of the basic needs for people. Everybody needs to have food, a home, and good health. As for telehealth, I came to this area in 2017, well before the lockdown. Sure, I saw the demand growing during the pandemic. Especially when it comes to AI solutions or digital health solutions.

However, I’ve noticed another thing that is far more interesting — about 20% of all questions from patients were about skin conditions. And patients had to wait for a long time to get an answer from a dermatologist because there weren’t enough specialists.

Diving Deeper

After finding the problem, we’ve started our research and it confirmed the hypothesis: there are 35 dermatologists per 1M inhabitants in the EU. Generally, it’s very difficult to cater to the market’s needs because nobody has an X-ray at home when it to scanning internal organs. But everybody can observe their skin and everybody has a smartphone.

So, we started to develop our methodology and search for partners like medical organizations in the European Union and wider. Since our project is at the intersection of medicine and IT, we outlined four stages in developing the prototype:

1. Creation of medical dataset;
2. Training of neural network;
3. Certification in the EU;
4. App development.

The main costs in development were connected with human resources. Analyzing and marking up medical data require high-level medical professionals. Neural network training requires data scientists, but also quite a lot of computing power. As for app development, these are the typical costs for mobile and backend developers which are not big comparing to everything else.

However, there are certification requirements that always take lots of time and resources. Just to be clear, we made the certification before the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR) took effect in 2021. So we passed it through in a more simple way. Still, it’s a difficult process and we spent about a year to get everything done. Right now it takes 1,5-2 years to prepare all documents and to complete clinical tests in compliance with MDR.

Launching the Product

In this sense, I'm a lucky guy. I used to head an outsourcing company, so I had enough time to identify the right people — strong and experienced specialists.
We have three products – two mobile applications and one API service (SaaS).

Skinive Сloud for developers was the first sign, then we launched Skinive MD for medical specialists. So first we wanted to test our solution in a medical environment. And only when we got positive feedback from professionals that our app’s accuracy was pretty good, we launched it for patients.
AI screening provides a bit of advice and helps understand whether it is necessary to make an appointment with a doctor. Meanwhile, Skinive offers the biggest advantage in the first line. General practitioners serve many patients but have little experience in dermatology. Our solution enables them to diagnose skin disease at an early stage and reduces time to find the right diagnosis.

Business Model

Our products have different business models. We use a subscription model Skinive app for individuals. Basically, the price depends on how many images they use during a month. As for Skinive MD for medical professionals, we actually deal with a sector, because we have contracts with hospitals and healthcare systems, not with independent specialists.

There is an idea to make the app be covered by insurance because nobody wants to pay money out of their pockets. It is possible to have our app covered by insurance companies in the European Union. Right now we’re preparing a market strategy with insurance premiums, reimbursements, and so on. I believe that it will be done during this year.

Building the Team

I have never combined running my own company with an ordinary job. It is important for me to be 100% focused on my own project
The Skinive team mainly consists of medical professionals, developers, and IT project managers. We have a great team that consists of dermatologists and oncologists, engineers, people who are well-versed in AI and Computer Vision technologies.

In this sense, I'm a lucky guy. I used to head an outsourcing company, so I had enough time to identify the right people — strong and experienced specialists. I also maintained a lot of connections with different freelancers and I still use this network.

Average headcount for 2022: 9 people hired full-time & 11 people hired part-time. Now we have several offices, but during the COVID-19 quarantine we worked absolutely remotely and we didn’t meet any difficulties working together. Also, we are in the process of setting up a company in Malta that will be used as a place to conduct our clinical trials.


Since we first launched a mobile app for doctors, the best way to promote a new medical solution was through medical exhibitions and conferences. I would like to mention IMCAS World Congress which is held in Paris. Paris is known as the capital of beauty products and cosmetics. There were more than 17,000 medical professionals from all around the world. It is a perfect place to promote solutions for skin health and skin beauty.

And also I’ll mention another conference, MIA (Mathematics and Image Analysis - Ed. note) held in Berlin. We participated in this conference, and it was very useful, especially for digital health projects.

Last year, we published our scientific paper in the Indian Journal of Dermatology. We also have scientific papers which are published on PubMed which is one of the most famous online medical libraries in the world. Publications helped us to get a lot of connections in Europe and even in Asia.

Then we started to use ‘classic’ promotion channels such as Facebook, Google, and TikTok. We had several advertising campaigns in Google and TikTok. For now, we do all marketing in-house, but in the future, we plan to work with influencers.

???????????? Start new healthy habit today - Self-diagnose skin disease from the comfort of home. Download AI powered Skinive app and get accurate result ❤️

♬ I Wanna Know You - BLVKSHP

Keeping the Focus

I have never combined running my own company with an ordinary job. It is important for me to be 100% focused on my own project. That said, I mentor friendly projects in my field. I'm an entrepreneur in the Netherlands, so there's some kind of mentoring in a HealthInc Accelerator — accelerator in Amsterdam.
I have a lot of connections with many digital health startups, and we often discuss challenges in this field such as how to make a certification, how to make clinical trials, and so on. We are a part of the Digital Health Consortium in the Netherlands, and via the consortium, we try to reach out to the Dutch healthcare system.

Raising funds and Future Plans

We started the project with our own funds as well as those of the early angel investors. Then we got into the Rockstart accelerator, which, in addition to acceleration, also acted as our first professional investor. To date, we have raised 1M EUR of investment in total, from Angels, the accelerator, professional investors as well as grants.

At the beginning of 2023, we launch a new round of investment to expand sales in the European Union and get the certification in the United States. We are already in talks with investors and have received a firm commitment for the upcoming round.

I believe that Skinive has great potential to become a versatile skin diagnostic solution for both home use and medical practice. Although the technology is already at a high level of development, the focus must be on data collection, raising awareness, and ultimately increasing market share.

We are in a very strong position right now, because the Skinive app is a certified medical device. Behind our solution there is the biggest data set in the world, it’s bigger than Google AI solution in this area.

In the last few years, I see several new competitors, and we’re happy about this fact. We see an interest in this kind of solution, and of course, competition attracts attention from investors.

Thank you for reading Kirill’s story, hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you are looking to share your story, please leave us the form below and we will contact you back. Cheers!