An Interview with Simi Lindgren, Founder of Yuty

Extraordinary women from across the country were unveiled as the 2023 finalists in the everywoman Entrepreneur Awards, UK’s longest-running recognition programme for female entrepreneurs. One of these amazing women was Simi Lindgren, Founder of Yuty, who was a finalist in the Tech Innovator category.

The journey

Lindgren began her career journey working in marketing communications (marcomms), where she matched brands and PRs with media celebrities and influencers. She commented: “The buying journey felt incredibly fragmented, and I realised that there was this disconnect between consumers and brands. So ultimately, I began working on algorithms to solve that problem. Firstly, on the consumer side was the issue of discovering and finding beauty products that work for them. But for brands, it was understanding who their customers were to drive growth and build loyalty.

“After a period of time, in 2020, I decided to launch our MVP, which is Yuty. That's the AI as a service technology solutions provider. So, we're really revolutionising the way that brands and consumers connect with the beauty commerce experience through AI-powered hyper-personalisation.”

But Lindgren’s journey didn’t really begin with marcomms, “I went to med school. I didn’t qualify as a doctor or anything like that. It was mostly for me, it was really important to follow the thread of my academic achievements, parental pressures, all of that. But ultimately, I secured an internship at a magazine working in beauty cupboard and that's how I decided to go and pursue my own passions.”

What is Yuty?

Yuty is the “one-stop shop for inclusive AI-powered personalisation for all beauty categories.” The app provides data-backed product recommendations delivered through an engaging quiz to help all consumers irrespective of race, gender or ability to discover which product is right for them. This level of personalisation enables brands to connect with and retain customers, by creating an individualised journey that identifies, markets, and sells the right product to the right customer.

“I think the main goal was really just to revolutionise the ways that brands connect with their consumers. I thought if we could fix this, on the consumer side to fix their experience, and for the brands to fix their understanding of who their customers were, then ultimately, everyone would feel empowered, and brands could deliver that growth.

“It came from my own pain, it was that whole feeling of not being seen, not being understood, just not being able to find the right product. Everyone always thinks that Yuty is for makeup, but it was focused on skincare and haircare from the very beginning because my own pains were that I wasn't able to find the right shampoo or hair conditioner that didn't leave me with product built up, so I just shaved my hair off, thinking ‘okay, I just can't figure it out.”

What have the biggest challenges been?

The life of a founder isn’t all glitz and glam. Behind the scenes comes hardship and true hard work, and to succeed, you need a lot of resilience and grit. So, what have been some of the struggles that Lindgren has found during her entrepreneurial journey?

“Entrepreneurship and scaling your business isn’t really the rags to riches story that everyone reads about. It can be an extremely treacherous train and there are high rates of failure. I think 90% of startups fail,” Lindgren commented. “So for me, having been in it for so many years, I guess it’s been nurturing myself, not just the business. I have three goals in my role as CEO and Founder of the business, and that’s to ensure that I’m driving the mission and vision of the business, which is ultimately to empower and enable brands to transform their customer experience to drive growth and loyalty with personalisation and AI. Number two is to recruit, retain and hire the best talent. And the biggest one is to ensure there’s cash in the bank.”

What have been the highlights of the journey?

“I’ve had some incredible highlights, but for me, I’m really bad at celebrating the wins. My team always have to tell me to celebrate my wins because I love celebrating them but I never really celebrate the stuff that I do.”
Though, when given some time to think about the highlights of her journey, and the feats that she has achieved, there were quite a few. “We've recently had another patent granted, amongst the other patents that we have, which, if you know anything about developing proprietary technology, it's not easy to even secure a patent for your hardware, and the R&D that goes into that.

“Other things include raising a pre-seed round that was VC backed and it was an oversubscribed pre-seed round. I was the 10th black female to have done so in the whole of the UK ever, which is kind of crazy when I think about it.

“Another highlight that sticks out is what we’ve done for our customers. I think hearing their testimonials and seeing what Yuty has done for them has been incredible in terms of validating what we’re building here. When you hear back from the likes of Glossier that we helped them increase their conversions, drive revenue, and retain 70% more of their customer base, we think ‘wow, that’s amazing.’ I mean, obviously, when you go on this journey, just launching the product, you hope that it solves the problem. But hearing that from companies just makes us feel like we've done what we've been meaning to do. It feels really good to hear testimonials from really brilliant, innovative brands that Yuty has been the turning point for their business.”

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?

“One of the most valuable lessons was just launch. I spent four years before we launched the product building the algorithm. The lesson there was don’t let perfection be the enemy of good, or in this case, progress. When you’re building AI models, you can’t just launch them into public straight away as you don’t want to do damage, but sometimes you do need to launch to ensure that it’s a product that people can actually use.”

Sometimes within the startup world, founders can find themselves falling in love with the solution that they’re working on, rather than the problem that motivated them to begin their journey in the first place. “We need to be in love with the problem, not with the product or the solution. The only reason we have the solution is because we're working towards the problem. It was just a lesson to learn and it's something I always tell founders, if you're in love with the product and no one's using it, well you don't have product market fit, and that's not really why you set out on this journey. Because ultimately, you set out on a journey to solve a problem and to transform people's lives.”

What does the future hold?

With such a fantastic product and mission, Yuty is sure to continue to grow and take on the world.
“The future is going to be all about transforming the way that brands connect with their consumers. We were recently granted a patent that goes across further sectors, and that to us is incredibly exciting but important, as we see our role at Yuty as transforming experience for everyone.”

“We want to be able to deliver proactive, personalised and contextualised insights that really improve the way we communicate, we create, and we work.”

Lindgren is an extraordinary woman, and getting to the finals of the everywoman awards was very much well deserved! We look forward to continuing to see Yuty, and Lindgren, grow even further.