The SBV team is led by Mr. Jules Zecchino, who was the former Head of Skin Care R&D at Estée Lauder for over 20 years, and responsible for the development of the company's top performing products in their multi-billion dollar segments. His team at Estée also won the prestigious Marie Claire Prix d'Excellence (the Beauty Industry's Oscar) an unprecedented five years in a row. His team at SBV aims to build upon their impressive achievements by utilizing internal technologies as well as leveraging relationships with a number of scientific, corporate and academic affiliates who provide the adjunct technology and manufacturing necessary for product commercialization. He is an active member of the International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology, Society of Investigative Dermatology, CEW and SCC.
Betsy Schmalz Ferguson
Betsy is an innovator in the cosmetic and fragrance industry, starting her senior management career at Revlon and Clinique with responsibility for new product development for Borghese, Ultima II, and Prestige Fragrances among others. Later as Senior Vice President of Corporate Product Development at Estée Lauder, her responsibilities included overseeing product development for some the company’s most prominent brands. It is there that she worked with both key scientists on the Skyler Team. After Estée Lauder, Betsy became the Vice President of Product Development at Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret for The Limited. She is an active member of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) and Fashion Group. Betsy was also on the Advisory Board for the Fashion Institute of Technology Master’s Program and an Adjunct Professor for their undergraduate Cosmetic Marketing Program.
Paul E. Wahlgren
Before his role with Skyler Brand Ventures, Paul held senior roles in luxury goods companies in both London and in New York. Previous to that, he worked in the Consumer Electronics Industry in various management roles for Philips Consumer Electronics domestically and abroad. He is an active member of CEW and has attended top trade conferences in Europe including: in-cosmetics, Cosmoprof and Cosmopack. Paul holds a BSc. in Business Administration from State University College at Buffalo, New York and an MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen, The Netherlands.
Konstantinos "Konnie" M. Lahanas, Ph.D.
VP of Lab Operations
One of the best known formulators in the beauty industry, Dr. Lahanas has headed the Lahanas Group since 2008. Prior to that he was Manager of the Materials Science-New Venture Technology Group at Estée Lauder for 12 years, followed by 8 years as Director of Formulation Innovation at Limited Brands. He holds a Ph.D. & Masters in Physical Chemistry from Seton Hall University and a BSc. in Chemistry from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He taught Chemistry as Adjunct Faculty at LIU for over a decade and holds numerous valuable category patents.
VP of Product Development
Donna is a recognized expert in creative product development in the cosmetics industry. In a professional career spanning over 30 years she has an outstanding record of accomplishments across new product development both in the U.S. and abroad. She has held executive positions at Avon, Lancome and Revlon. As Senior Vice President of Product Development for both Lancome and Revlon, her responsibilities included the implementation of product development for all product categories. She is a member of Cosmetic Executive Women and currently an Adjunct Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology.
Brandy Bennett, Ph.D.
Dr. Bennett is an independent Strategic Consultant with expertise preparing business development and regulatory communications in both the academic and biopharma sectors in the U.S. and the EU. She holds a position as a Sr. Operations Specialist at an industry-leading biotech company where she works across all therapeutic areas. Dr. Bennett received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the NYU Langone School of Medicine, and her B.A. in Biology from Earlham College, where she was a Merck and Barry M. Goldwater Scholar.
Director, Product Development
Alex, along with Jules Zecchino, were founding members of Innovative Cosmetic Concepts (ICC) where Alex worked on the bench developing products and technology for the cosmetic industry. Prior to ICC, he worked at Englewood Lab, one of the premier contract manufacturers in the cosmetic industry. Alex not only formulates products for SBV, but is the key technology transfer liaison, ensuring quality and consistency in formulation from discovery and conceptualization through development, scale-up and production.
Jen van der Meer
Lean Start-up Consultant
As the Founder and CEO of Reason Street, Jen is a strategist whose role is to shape and structure emerging business models for scalability and growth and to connect start-ups and large corporates as “lighthouse clients.” Jen is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s ITP School, where she runs the VC Pitchfest, the LeanLaunchpad program, and also teaches at SVA’s Products of Design. She is a former Wall Street Analyst and Economist and has held key executive management roles at Organic and Frog Design. Jen has a BA from Trinity College, and an MBA from HEC in France. Her musings can be found at her blog – www.jenvandermeer.com.
SKYLER BRAND VENTURES
A catalyst for skin care innovation
Skyler Brand Ventures is a biosciences based skincare incubator run by scientists and managers from the beauty, luxury, pharmaceutical, and dermatological industries.