Jack Jia, Founder and CEO of Musely, is a 4-time serial entrepreneur who has founded and led several successful technology companies. Musely, a telemedicine technology leader providing medical treatments for skin conditions & skin care, is one of the fastest growing US-based DTC telemedicine companies of 2021. Jack has been a partner & advisor for GSR Ventures, TSVC, and others, with a focus on internet, mobile, and software investments – a dozen of his early bets have become unicorns with a combined value exceeding $100 billion.
Jack was the founder & CEO of Baynote, Inc., a leading recommendation software company. Before founding Baynote, Jack was the founding CTO at Interwoven (NASDAQ: IWOV, now part of HP), a leading software company that pioneered the content managementxspace, and is valued at $7 billion. Prior to Interwoven, he was a founder and CEO of V-max America. Earlier in his career, Jack led Unix kernel development at Sun, SGI, Stratus, and NASA.
Jack holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, an MSEE from NYU, and a BSEE/MSCE from Beijing Jiaotong University.
BITB had to pleasure of catching up with Jack to hear more about Musely and his success as an entrepreneur.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What motivated you to create Musely?
I am a 4-time serial entrepreneur and a tech VC. My second company went public in three years during the dotcom days. In the last few years, I’ve been the founder & CEO of Musely. My VC investment focus has been on mobile, internet, and software – a dozen of my early bets have become unicorns with a combined value exceeding $100 billion.
I initially created Musely to allow women to share their beauty and skincare tips & products. I had watched my wife, Cherry, trying hundreds of skincare routines and products over the years, unsuccessfully fighting off her Melasma and aging issues. I thought the internet, app, and community could reveal insights that she failed to get from her close circle of friends.
A million tips and 3000 products later, I realized that the skincare industry was built on marketing and brand stories—not on science and clinical results. In the process of finding a cure for Cherry, I “discovered” the true skincare secret: a set of skin medications locked away for decades, accessed by only a few privileged. Musely FaceRx was born. Cherry was dubbed as “Patient 0” internally at Musely, as she was the first one cured after 20 years of struggle with Melasma.
It turns out that she is not unique. 90%+ of our patients share her experiences: failures, frustrations, and loss of confidence. Nearly two years and 150,000 patients later, Musely is on a mission to democratize the awareness and access of effective skincare that works for everyone, rather than a few elites.
How does Musely work? What do you think makes your company stand out?
Musely is like the Tesla for skincare: you trade in the ineffective ingredients (gasoline in cars) for 10-100x more efficacious medications (for electricity in Tesla). It’s all done online in three minutes with a board certified dermatologist. Your prescription is customized and your medication is compounded fresh for you, 1-3 days before you receive it in the mail.
Musely transforms you in three ways:
- Efficacious: You are treated by a board certified dermatologist without spending tons of money. Only the most experienced dermatologists know what medications work for skin conditions like Melasma or aging. They are able to prescribe medications that interact with your skin’s biology in order to really make an impact. No over-the-counter products are legally allowed to do that. Without a prescription, you are just paying for very expensive moisturizers that do nothing to reverse aging or remove spots.
- Fresh: The Musely formulations and freshness are key reasons why FaceRx works while others, including pharmaceutical products like TriLuma and Obaji MD, didn’t for most of our patients in the past. The shelf life of FaceRx is only about two months as the medications oxidize. Traditional factory-made medications lose 80% of their efficacy—from factory to pharmacy, to your home.
- Affordable: Musely’s telemedicine technology makes the process and medication ten times more affordable. We are on a mission to provide knowledge, access, and affordability to the only effective skincare solutions for every woman—rich or poor, young or old. Many of the most prestigious dermatologists in the country have told us that even they cannot get the medications we produce.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your journey as an entrepreneur?
The success of your entrepreneurial journey has little to do with your original big idea. It is all about your ability to “iterate fast & fail faster”. Building a successful business from nothing is like searching for a treasure vault buried deep in the Amazon jungle. You know the rough direction to go but you need to zig-zag and overcome many dead ends and impasses: rivers, snakes, poisonous plants… all designed to stop and kill you. That original big idea needs to become hundreds of daily, weekly and monthly problem solving iterations with both breakthroughs and failures.
In this journey, you will experience joy, but much more desperation. It is those “Moments of Despair” that would kickstart the next round of breakthroughs. The Moments of Despair can scare us to death, but they are the very energy to fuel the flywheel of innovation needed for a successful venture!