- Founders: Frederik Duerinck
- Founded in: 2018
- Employees: 20
- Money raised: €2,5 million
- Ultimate goal: To be able to offer every their own unique scent.
In 2017, Frederik Duerinck was commissioned by one of the world’s largest fragrance and flavor companies to design an art project which revolved around personal fragrances. He then becomes inundated with positive reactions. The response is so great that one evening at a bar, the artist figures out how much he needs to do to turn his art project into a machine that produces personal fragrances.
“An amount of €2.5 million was written on my beer mat. No art fund was going to give me that amount. That’s when I started pitching my idea in the United States, back in February 2018. By the summer of that year, I had my first investors on board.” This is how Scentronix was born and the EveryHuman concept. In this instalment of Start-up of the Day, Duerinck talks about to IO how he wants to use AI to change the world of perfume forever.
Why we write on this topic:
It is only a few major brands – Chanel, Lancome, Hugo Boss – that determine how a large portion of the world’s population smells. Frederik Duerinck thinks this could be done differently. He has an algorithm that creates personalized perfumes and is planning to take on the perfume industry.
A personalized perfume made on the basis of a questionnaire and AI. So tell us; how does that work?
“People fill out a detailed questionnaire online or at one of our locations. It contains sociological, psychological, physiological questions, as well as questions about their cultural background. We have developed three algorithms that each look at that questionnaire in its own distinct way. The first looks at the psychological answers, the second at implicit data. Such as, which questions have you thought about for a long time, and which ones you haven’t. The third algorithm scans all the answers and factors.
The system creates three formulas for three different perfumes this way. People can fine-tune those formulas themselves if they wish. Then users can give feedback on their perfume formulas, and we feed that information back into our algorithm.”
It sounds really cool. What’s the price tag for this?
“For €45, you get 3 personalized 5 ml bottles. You can then reorder those later on; a 30 ml refill costs €65.”
It is not expensive compared to other perfume brands. Still, the general opinion is that a good perfume costs a lot of money.
“I hear that more often. Even though our perfume is cheaper, we don’t compromise on quality. We use ingredients of the finest quality conceivable.
Look, on average, the fluid is only 3 percent of the cost. The bottle and packaging about 12 to 18 percent. The remainder is all marketing costs. That exclusivity is created by the packaging and the price. I’m against that. Smell is an extremely primal thing, it is one of the senses that acts on the innermost part of our being. I find it perverse that this money-hungry ecosystem has been built around it. That is what’s at the core of my business. I think it’s very important that everyone has access to our product, that people learn to play with scents. That uniqueness, that’s your own value. Not that of a brand.”
Are people always pleased with what they get?
“No. Approximately one in fifty people are not satisfied with the perfume the get. That doesn’t mean that it ends there, customers can then book an online or offline meeting with one of our perfumers to give them advice.”
How is Scentronix faring now?
“Right now, we have 60,000 users in our system. That means we’ve sold at least 180,000 bottles of perfume that have rolled off the assembly line. We have locations in New York, Dubai and Breda. Soon we will also add another location in the Middle East and in Asia. We’re now focusing on personal use, but you can do a lot with fragrances. They can you help calm down, but even whet your appetite. So, there are also lots of opportunities in the wellness and medical world. Ultimately, Scentronix must become the platform for everything to do with fragrances. Whether that is a perfume, shampoo or a room spray.”