Episode 153
April 11, 2023

From Private Equity to Personalized Skincare

with Ming Zhao, Co-Founder and CEO of PROVEN Skincare

About this episode

Sharing her story today is Ming Zhao, Co-Founder and CEO of PROVEN Skincare, a company that’s revolutionizing the skincare space. Ming sits down with Lee to talk about her incredible transition from China to the United States, what inspired her passion for traveling the world, and how this wanderlust spurred her to create PROVEN. You’ll also hear about the appointment with a celebrity dermatologist that changed her life, the grueling experience of being on Shark Tank, why she chose to delay her pitch at the Y Combinator demo day, and the pivotal moment she knew private equity was not for her. From exploration to skincare creation, join us on this inspiring journey!

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In This Episode, You’ll Hear About:

  • [03:10] The heartwarming story of Ming - from her childhood in another land to moving to the land of opportunity.
  • [14:39] Ming's transformative time at Harvard and how she's built a career she's truly proud of.
  • [24:25] Hear about the moment Ming decided to ditch the corporate world and embark on her own entrepreneurial adventure.
  • [32:10] She unpacks the approach that makes PROVEN so special, and the hurdles she had to overcome along the way.
  • [40:15] Ming shares insightful tidbits about her fundraising experiences and a behind-the-scenes take on Shark Tank.
  • [50:23] The impact that being on television had on her business, and PROVEN's exciting investment opportunities.
  • [56:55] A sneak peek into what the future holds for her, and some invaluable advice to all budding entrepreneurs.

To Find Out More:

PROVEN Skincare

PROVEN Skincare on Instagram

Invest in PROVEN

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Lee Greene on Twitter 

Stairway to CEO

Stairway to CEO on Instagram


“We do stand on the shoulders of giants because the system was set up to allow immigrant kids to have a chance.”

“I do not know if would I have had these accomplishments happen if I was in China than in the [United States].” 

“I am a third-generation entrepreneur, and I get to do it in America, which is wonderful.”

“[Past work] experiences really ignited in me a wanderlust for the world and seeing the world while working.” 

“It was in my job as a private equity investor that inspired me to start PROVEN.”

“Before [a] company is successful is not the time to make a statement. When we want to make a statement is when we have an established, successful company.” 

“[Shark Tank] was so much work for so long, and we were very lucky to eventually air on Shark Tank, but between [starting the process] and filming was almost two years.” 

“We created a crowdfunding campaign so that many of [our customers] are able to take part in what they have helped to build.”

“We have gotten millions of dollars in investments from just our customers and community alone, and we are so grateful to them.”

“Even with all the [success], I am still at a stage where I [feel like] I have no idea what I am doing at any given time.” 

“There is a time and place to do certain things”

“Make a statement for maximum impact”

Read the transcript

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