Six questions with VIVIQ Co-founder, Dr. John O'Neill

We sat down in VIVIQ's Brooklyn lab with Dr. John O’Neill to chat about the brand’s hero product, what’s behind the VIVIQ name, and what it was like to go viral on the Internet.

John O'Neill, PhD is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of VIVIQ Skin Health. 

A: Hi, John. Thanks for sitting down with me today.

J: No problem, let's get into it [laughs]. 

Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the name VIVIQ?

J: The name VIVIQ projects our vision of intelligent skincare. “Vivi” is the Latin root for life, conveying a vivacious, active energy. The “IQ” is a nod to the innovation and intelligence at the heart of the brand; the V represents intersecting points of the triangle in the vitally important relationship between the person, their skin, and the environment.

Why did you start with a dermal repair cream?

J: Whether through injury, inflammation, or time, skin damage is a common and significant problem for people of all ages. The few available products that tout repair benefits don’t actually provide mechanisms for active, effective skin repair. Our hero ingredient, Matrikynes, evolved in nature to do just this; so, given the huge need, weak options on the market, and perfect problem-to-solution fit, we opted to start with Advanced Dermal Repair Cream-- but aim to expand the line with additional products soon.

What’s the best life or business advice you’ve ever gotten?

J: Fail fast!

Interesting. Can you expand on that?

J: Time is your most valuable resource-- you don’t want to lose any time pursuing things [that are] destined to fail. Try your hardest to kill your own ideas; test them in ways that should cause them to fail. Some ideas evolve and get stronger. If an idea can survive this process, it's likely to succeed and worth spending time on.

Ok, now for a peek behind the curtain. What do you do for fun outside of the lab?  

J: I like to read, drink coffee, and skate. If I had a little more bandwidth I'd spend more time cooking. 

Nice. What's a surprising fact most people don't know about you? 

J: Hmm, I rarely share that I was nationally ranked triathlete until I turned 21.

Wow, impressive. Alright, last one-- how did it feel to go viral on Pinterest? 

J: [laughs] Along with someday winning the Nobel Prize, it’s been my life’s dream.