The days of awkward sunburn streaks are over. No longer do you have to worry whether your spray sunscreen fully covered your back, or anywhere else on your body. Voxelight, a Raleigh-based startup, has developed a product to save your skin.
The Sunscreenr is a small device that uses an ultraviolet camera to see the spots on your body that are covered by sunscreen. A quick scan with this device enables you to instantly know what is and isn’t protected.
This technology of ultraviolet cameras is not new, but instead simply re-thought for this specific application. Ultraviolet cameras came around in the early 80’s, but used to cost thousands of dollars. Voxelight was able to make some changes to the lens design and sensors to create a small, affordable version.
The idea came about in 2014 when Jon Meyer, a hobbyist photographer, was experimenting with UV photography and realized that you could see the sunscreen on your skin with the lens. At the time his mom was struggling with skin cancer, and that fueled the idea for the Sunscreenr device.
Meyer shared the concept with his friend David Cohen, a PhD in biochemistry who had had a varied career developing and launching products for the consumer, defense, forensics, medical device and life science research markets. Cohen’s background made him a natural fit to help make the Sunscreenr and protect it with a patent. Cohen joined Meyer as a Co-Founder of Voxelight in October, 2015, and Cohen serves as CEO.
The company started with a Kickstarter campaign to judge the interest in their product and were met with resounding approval in the form of nearly $120K in funding.
Now, Sunscreenr has been through several iterations. In 2019, the company turned in its first cash flow-positive year on $1.6M in gross revenue.
The company now offers a product that can plug into your smartphone as well. Meanwhile Voxelight has expanded beyond the Sunscreenr, using its tech in other applications.
For instance, the startup has developed a mirror that reflects you in UV light. The mirror is a hit product for the eyeglass company Zeiss, which sells its glasses in Walmarts across the country. Zeiss uses the Voxelight-manufactured mirror to show the level of UV protection in a pair of glasses when a customer tries them on. Zeiss has seen a wonderful ROI as a result, Cohen said.
Now, they’re looking to have the same effect on the beauty industry. The mirror technology can also point out sun damage, which is a primary source of skin aging. The mirror could be a potent sales tool for the anti-aging skincare market.
Voxelight is just kicking off another fundraising round.
“We’ve shown we can manufacture products people want,” Cohen said. “And now it’s time to scale.”