MDacne is a mobile app that uses AI and computer vision to help people with acne.

Consumer Mobile Health Care










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Feb 24, 2019

Computer Vision applied to Acne

The trend

The democratization of computer vision tech

When we speak of computer vision, the technology that enables computers to understand images or videos, we generally think of deep tech applications such as self driving car and other autonomous vehicles.

However, I believe that thanks to the  the democratization of infrastructure services such Clarifai or Deepomatic, we’ll see in the next years an explosion of startup leveraging computer vision without having a team of ML specialists in house. These services will tackle a myriad of use cases in a variety of fields, and the computer vision component will only be a feature amongst others in these products.

For these startups access to/creation of proprietary data won’t necessarily be the most critical aspect, the key success factors, imo, will be, first, to choose the right use case and, second, to build the right UX/UI to answer the user’s need.


πŸ‘ I can definitely relate to this problem, when I was a teenager I had acne problems and everything in the IRL user experience is broken: you need to wait weeks to get an appointment with a dermatologist who will barely look at you before subscribing generic products. In most cases this is over-engineered, and a mobile app can provide a better/faster user experience for the teenager, and on top of that, free time for the dermatologist who can focus on people with more serious skin problems.

πŸ—’On a side note, I believe that many “common” health issues like this will get unbundled from doctors by technology. It makes no sense that doctors are booked for weeks because they need to treat basic problems. Another example is myopia testing which will, imo, get unbundled too.


πŸ€”The global acne treatment market was estimated at $4B in 2016 and is expected to reach $7.4B in 2025. Big, but not huge.

πŸ‘ It’s an ever renewing market: every new generation will have acne problems, there’ll perpetually be new customers.


πŸ‘ The computer vision component doesn't need dedicated hardware, the smartphone camera is enough (less friction).

πŸ‘The app provides an integrated experience from the diagnosis (via computer vision applied to a selfie) to communication with a dermatologist if necesserary, and the purchase/delivery of the personalized treatment.

πŸ‘Ž Defensibility: I doubt that there’s a lot of defensibility in the computer vision aspect and probably not much more in the treatment aspect (they don’t have proprietary medics)


πŸ€” more and more Direct-to-Consumer brands are going after that market and offer “personalized” products, like Curology which has raised $18M.