Jochen Boeykens (38) founded the health tech start-up Skindr two years ago together with dermatologist Annelies Avermaete. When Boeykens started to suffer from acne, he was also confronted with the seemingly endless waiting times within classical dermatology. From that frustration, Skindr was born, an app that allows patients to receive advice from a Belgian dermatologist within 48 hours based on photos. In the meantime, Skindr, with its team of 20 Belgian dermatologists, has already been able to help more than 10,000 patients and that number is growing daily.
What was a moment of supreme happiness for you?
“At the end of 2022, we concluded our 10,000th consultation with Skindr. When you start, you naturally set goals for yourself. Yet I never dared to think that we would be able to help so many people in such a short time. That also means that we have learned a lot during those two years. At any moment you think it’s actually moving too slowly, but when you zoom out, you realize how fast you’re actually going by taking small steps every week. That realization, that is pure happiness!”
Where would you like to live/work/do business?
“Sometimes I look with admiration at the freedom that the American market offers. The philosophy there is: ‘whatever is not explicitly forbidden is allowed’. In Europe we ask ourselves in advance: ‘Is that allowed?’. On the other hand, we in Belgium are very committed to quality. To achieve this, rules must be made that guarantee a minimum level and that is the philosophy that I ultimately feel most comfortable with.”
What do you hate/frustrate most as an entrepreneur?
“If you want to bring innovation to the health sector as an entrepreneur, your first job is the missionary work you have to do with the established values. It would be nice if there was room for experimentation in every sector. Not all experiments will be good, but now innovation is being nipped in the bud by the high thresholds that you have to overcome immediately, before it can actually make an impact.”
If you want to bring innovation to the health sector as an entrepreneur, your first job is the missionary work you have to do with the established values
What small, everyday event can make you happy?
“At Skindr they know that my guilty pleasure a bar of chocolate with nuts is. Sometimes I find a bar like this on my desk when I come out of a meeting. Then I am immediately in high spirits and I promptly lower the targets for the next quarter (laughs).”
Is there someone who has defined your life? In what sense?
“Throughout my life I have seen a lot of dermatologists and have been extremely annoyed by my experience as a patient. When I met my co-founder – Dr. Annelies Avermaete – I was initially very skeptical. I was probably her most difficult patient, but thanks to her I was finally able to see how things are going on the side of the doctors and I saw that they are in an almost impossible situation due to the great lack of dermatologists and the huge number of patients.”
I am happy to be able to work on a problem that I have experienced myself together with dermatologists who are convinced of the same mission
“We discussed a lot about how we think the patient experience should be. From that point of view, we started working together on a solution. I am happy to be able to work on a problem that I have experienced myself together with dermatologists who are convinced of the same mission.”
What mistake do you have the most tolerance for?
“Try something and fail. I sometimes curse myself for thinking too much instead of taking immediate action. It is always better to do something, learn and iterate. In retrospect you say: if I had known then that… These are important lessons that you can never come up with yourself.”