Interview With Dr. Nathan Brown
Describe your product or service:
“Powered by genomics, we are creating an end-to-end solution in skincare: 1) a skin microbiome test for consumers to understand their microbial makeup and 2) targeted, precision microbial skincare formulations.”
Describe your company culture in 3 words:
“Transparent, driving, kind”
Describe your company values and mission:
”We believe that the future is precision health. We believe that our part in this advancement lies within the skin microbiome. Our mission is to improve human healthspan by creating clinical-grade products that are as clean and safe as they are targeted and effective.”
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with your business?
”Better skin health outcomes for users around the world through best-in-class diagnostics and products.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
”Venture capital, as well as strategic angel investors.”
How big is your team?
Tell us about your team (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
”Two co-founders (Natalise and Nathan), lab team, engineers, designers, marketers.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
”Natalise has started companies in the media and marketing space before, but this is her first foray into biotech. We both saw the massive need for a technology and solution like Parallel.”
How did you develop and refine your idea/concept? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
”We spoke with many skincare users and enthusiasts who tried endless products without real efficacy. We realized that we can and should do better in skincare. We can hold ourselves to higher standards by looking at the skin microbiome and using precision formulations to address specific concerns.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
”We believe that a parallel world lives amongst us — the microbial world. This world impacts not only our lifespan but also our healthspan. Our mission is to empower people with real science to make meaningful decisions to improve their healthspan.”
What makes your company unique?
”We are using cutting-edge genomic sequencing that has never been used before in skincare, and we are bringing this technology to the consumer market.”
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What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
”I think the greatest challenge we faced was having the courage to start the company in the first place. Sometimes it takes that willingness to risk — to think beyond yourself to make that leap.
From a day-to-day perspective, one of our challenges has been around [our] supply chain. We started our company in the midst of COVID, and it has been hard to get a handle on many of our vital lab and kit materials since they are also used in clinics and hospitals.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
”We serve two large groups: 1) people who have skin issues where there is a bacterial component (like acne, eczema, rosacea) and 2) people who are looking for a targeted way to age better”
What's your marketing strategy?
”We are looking to build out our community authentically and with the aim to truly help people. Additionally, we are using a 360 plan that involves social media, creative design, customer service, useful content, earned media, and advertising.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
”Word of mouth. It has been incredibly inspiring to hear people's stories of why they really need this test and effective products.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
”Customer growth, engagement, lifetime value.”
How has your approach to managing your business changed from when you started to now?
”Our team is very diverse, and we have learned to manage people in a way that meets them where they are, rather than having a uni-directional way of management.”
If you could go back in time and change anything about your entrepreneurial journey, would you?
”Not yet! We are too early ... ask me in a few years.”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
”Be authentic to who you are.”
Who is your support system?
”Our team and supporters at Illumina, our investors, mentors, and our customers.”
How do you stay motivated?
”Read customer letters!”
What’s the #1 resource you rely on for success?
”My co-founder. I think we rely on each other.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
”To be able to make hard decisions.”
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
”Make a choice, then give it all you've got.”
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More on Parallel Health
The founders of Parallel Health, a microbiome-centric skincare line launching in 2022, are developing a solution for a well-rounded skincare routine that is rooted in science with the consumer’s wellbeing in mind.
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