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Imagine knowing the exact moment your sunscreen stops working, making painful sunburns and skin damage a thing of the past. That’s exactly what Suncayr, a startup out of JLABS @ Toronto is trying to do with its product SPOT. According to Suncayr CEO, Andrew Martinko, SPOT is the perfect complement to a preexisting sun care regimen. According to Mr. Martinko, the SPOT, which is a round sticker applied to a highly visible area on the skin, changes color once the sunscreen is no longer effective signaling to the user that it’s time to reapply.
Suncayr’s goal is simple: to make it easier for people to improve their health by helping them better manage UV protection.
“Sunscreen is a great tool when used properly,” said Andrew Martinko, CEO and cofounder of Suncayr. “But understanding how the sunscreen protection varies in different environments is what makes SPOT different.”
The Suncayr team believes they have found the secret to mimicking the skin behavior in varying environments to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the sunscreen.
“Our biggest challenge has been in the development process. We thought we’d figured it out, and then we’d introduce a new environment and it wouldn’t be as effective,” said Martinko. “Wavy water versus stagnant water, sweating versus wiping the skin with a towel: all of these things factor in to how long your sunscreen protection lasts.”
Suncayr came to JLABS @ Toronto as a QuickFire Challenge winner in 2016, and found it was a perfect fit for the growing company.
“JLABS was ideal for us as we needed sophisticated lab facilities in order to run experiments, and with the QuickFire Challenge win, we were able to subsidize rent, which was huge for our growing startup,” explained Mr. Martinko. “Additionally, we received great mentorship and guidance that we could not have gotten anywhere else.”
The JLABS @ Toronto team connected Suncayr to the Johnson & Johnson Consumer sun care team, which allowed access to internal subject matter experts and certain UV testing equipment that was not available at JLABS.
“The entire JLABS @ Toronto team and Stefanie Dhanda in the Boston IC have been absolutely fantastic for us,” said Mr. Martinko. “The connections they made for us internally and the access to the Johnson & Johnson sun care team has been pivotal in our development plans.”
Suncayr is launching SPOT in Australia in 2017 with plans to launch in North America in 2018. Most recently, the Suncayr team was featured in the Forbes under 30 series.