Teen girls’ make-up app has the right foundation

Two 16-year-old schoolgirls have come top of a tech pitching competition after impressing investors with a make-up app that matches cosmetics to a person’s skin colour.

Selina Gourlay and Dilusha Francis Aloysioos, both from Glasgow, wanted to come up with a solution for women who find it difficult to find the right make-up to match their complexion.

Personalised make-up app

The pair were among 15 pupils who had won a place on the RookieOven Academy, a six-week teen start-up school in the city, and came up with the winning product ‘Elegance Beauty’.

They came up with the concept of an app that matches cosmetics to a user’s skin colour while adding a feature that offers suggestions based on specific preferences, such as ethical, vegan or cruelty free cosmetics.

Turning ideas into reality

“The RookieOven Academy was a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with how a tech start-up works,” said Selina. “I’m going on to study software engineering in September so this experience has been invaluable in showing what it takes to become a successful digital entrepreneur. I really hope that one day I can turn an idea like this into reality.”

Other app ideas pitched to the judges included a smart chair operated by an app to reduce back problems for office workers and a mind-mapping app to help improve learning potential.

Ensuring the pupils developed a viable business model were the Academy’s expert mentors including Ashley Baxter from Insurance by Jack, Mallzee’s Cally Russell and Rohan Gunitallake from Mindfulness Everywhere.

‘Genuine passion for their product’

Kenny Fraser, CEO of Sunstone Communication and angel investor, led the judging panel and praised the team for their thorough and imaginative approach.

He said: “I was blown away by the creativity and innovation shown by all the pupils taking part. Having seen many pitches in my time as an investor, I was impressed with how these ideas compared with other ‘real’ business pitches.

“Elegance Beauty was a clear winner for the panel. Having invested in Mallzee myself, I saw this app as delivering a similar service for make-up. The team thought of everything from the app’s potential market and business model to their pitch presentation and marketing plan. On top of all this they also created a website and written content, which showed a genuine passion for their product.”

Nurturing the tech entrepreneurs of the future

Glasgow’s RookieOven tech incubator hosted the course at its space in Govan. It received support from Glasgow City Council and Skills Development Scotland’s Digital World campaign.

Michael Hayes, RookieOven founder, said: “The Academy was something completely new for us but the process really encouraged participants to think outside the box and get creative so we are keen to try to roll it out to more students.

“Kick starting a digital business is not easy and I’m incredibly proud of everybody who took part in our pilot project. It’s vital we give the younger generation support and experience as early as possible to nurture the tech entrepreneurs of the future.”