The Creators: Bucks County Firm Launches New Direct-To-Consumer Skincare Line
By Lisa Dukart – Associate Editor
October 02, 2022, 01:00pm EDT
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, husband and wife Amy and Sanjay Batra didn’t hunker down quite the same way many others did. Instead of a sourdough starter, they decided to launch a startup.
Their Doylestown company WeThrivv focuses on two distinct segments: hair and facial aesthetics.
Dreamed up in early 2020, its products entered the market last summer and this January. On Oct. 1, the company launched its latest offering, a selection of direct-to-consumer skincare products.
A focus on skin and hair were natural fits for the Batras. A scientist by training, Sanjay Batra spent his entire career in the health care industry with a focus on pharmaceuticals. That included 10 years at Johnson & Johnson. When he felt a pull toward entrepreneurism, he decided to leave corporate America.
“I wanted to get to a place where we could make decisions and respond to the needs of our customers more effectively,” he said.
The pair were inspired by gaps they saw in the two industries. Specifically, Amy – a Temple University alum whose background is in marketing – thought there should be a product that would better soothe skin after certain in-office procedures, rather than the usual ice pack. Sanjay was looking for a hair growth product that was drug-free and easy to use.
“What we found is both in hair loss and in facial aesthetics, the current offerings weren’t good enough,” Sanjay said.
They opted to develop products addressing each under two distinct brands: Revivv, which focuses on hair, and Maskād, focused on skin. Both fall under the parent company WeThrivv.
They developed the brands simultaneously with Amy taking point on Maskād and Sanjayfocusing on Revivv.
Maskād, which launched with a pro series of products, debuted its newest offerings on Oct. 1. The direct-to-consumer products consist of an anti-aging serum, a hydrating serum, a hydrogel infusion face mask and a derma roller.
“People were asking for it,” Sanjay said, adding that “there’s a huge need for home care, self-care.”
Product pricing ranges from $15 up to $105 and are available via e-commerce.
Its pro series – a professional post-procedure mask and an at-home post-procedure mask – launched last summer.
Providers can use the pro series mask by applying a treatment to it, or following a procedure like injectable fillers, laser treatments or resurfacing, to help with recovery. Unlike other face masks, theirs is a dry, hydrogel cooling mask that has two parts so that it conforms to and better fits the face.
With Maskād, the Batras have primarily targeted dermatologists, plastic surgeons and cosmetic physicians, but are also looking at estheticians.
They took a slightly different approach with Revivv, which launched with its direct-to-consumer topical hair growth serum in January. It is focused on those dealing with androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss.
According to a 2021 report in the National Library of Medicine, androgenetic alopecia is a genetically predetermined disorder that can affect up to 50% of men and women. It is characterized by “progressive loss of terminal hair of the scalp any time after puberty.”
For Sanjay, it was important the product they developed wasn’t greasy, a common side effect in drug-based products, and was easy to use.
As such, Revivv can simply be rolled onto the scalp. A derma roller is also available to use ahead of applying Revivv, which can help with product absorption.
The first prototype for Revivv arrived in March 2021 after about six months of development and Sanjay was the first to use it.
“I’ve had an amazing result,” he said, noting that because they are cosmetic products the firm doesn’t “make claim[s] around treat, diagnose or cure.”
Revivv is available in both a men’s and women’s formula and both launched this January. Both are available in packages of two and retail for $160.
So far sales skew 60% for the men’s formula and 40% for the women’s formula. Sales are almost entirely e-commerce but they have begun retail sales through professionals.
“As we grow, and the brand increases in awareness, retail, of course, could be an interesting opportunity,” said Sanjay, noting he’s wary or growing too big too quickly.
“We don’t aspire to be a big company,” he said. “Just having good people is more important than having a lot of people.”
The Batras have self-funded WeThrivv and received between $500,000 and $600,000 of investment from interested friends.
“They all approached me,” Sanjay said, noting that several investors are doctors and another dermatologist is coming on board as a partner. “They’re really investing in Amy and me, which means a lot.”
WeThrivv also was selected for the current cohort of Bucks Built Startup Fund, for which they received a $25,000 investment.
“We’re very committed to Bucks County,” Sanjay said, noting that Amy grew up there. WeThrivv is based out of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Doylestown.
While its team is small, each has some ownership. WeThrivv has an advisory board of medical professionals including Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and Dr. Steve Fallek, a plastic surgeon, also in New Jersey.
Sales come from all over the U.S. as well as Canada. They’ve recently launched a Spanish-language option on their Revivv website to target consumers in Mexico.
Revivv is currently growing at about 20% each month and Sanjay said they’re projecting to double sales next year.
“Really this is a question of scaling and how much investment we put into marketing and clinical data,” he said. “But we see that this market opportunity is tremendous.”
What’s the difference between the men’s and women’s Revivv formulas?
There’s a core set of ingredients that are the same, then the men’s formulation is a little more focused on DHT (dihydrotestosterone) blocking. DHT is the enemy of the hair follicle. It’s what causes it to shrink or miniaturize. So the men’s formula has saw palmetto, which is a DHT blocker, if you will. And the women’s formula focuses on some different ingredients that have to do with stress.
Will you pursue additional product development?
If we find an unmet need, if we find a segment, that could be better, we’ll try to address it. But we’ll do so very methodically. … If we find a need that makes sense and we can create a best in class product, we are happy to do it.