Kristen McClellan hated taking time out of her vacation to apply sunscreen. The process was time consuming, and if she missed those pesky, hard to reach spots she'd burn. McClellan thought there just had to be a better way and started developing a solution while still a student at Cornell University.
"I really think SnappyScreen is going to be the next big thing for sunscreen application. We're not only going to make this easier for people but really provide something that is going to help the epidemic of skin cancer," McClellan said.
McClellan "Power Pitched" her start-up to panelists Women Innovate Mobile co-founder Kelly Hoey, Prevention magazine's beauty and lifestyle director Olessa Pindak, and Lucaspoint Ventures founder and CEO Adam Quinton. Will the panelists think this business has a bright future? Click the video above to find out!
The SnappyScreen machine works similarly to a spray tanning machine. After the customer selects the SPF of his or her choice (15, 30, or 50) they stand inside the booth and nozzles spray sunscreen over their entire bodies within 10 seconds. McClellan said she sees this device as a unique amenity for leisure destinations such as hotels, beach resorts, water parks and cruises.
McClellan came up with the idea while studying at Cornell University and joined Cornell's business incubator program, eLab. Between her freshman and sophomore year she built the first prototype, and by the time she graduated in 2012 she had a test run at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (MAR).
The company's main revenue stream is its patent pending sunscreen cartridges. Hotels buy the machine at cost and then replenish the 4-gallon cartridges, which McClellan sells in bundles. The price per spray is determined by the hotel and all the money generated from the sprays is kept by the resort.
"We're thinking of the sunscreen cartridges as the Keurig cup of sunscreens," McClellan told CNBC.
The sunscreen business is an $8.5 billion industry with some major players like Procter and Gamble (PG), Energizer Holdings (ENR) which makes Banana Boat, and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The industry is expected to grow at a rate of 4.6 percent between 2012 and 2017 according to market researcher IBISWorld. And while there is more awareness about the negative effects of UV rays, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. One study estimated there were 3.5 million cases of nonmelonoma skin cancers in 2006. And melanoma incident rates have been increasing for at least 30 years.
McClellan said she believes the problem isn't the lack of sunscreen, but the difficulty in applying the product and not reapplying enough. She told CNBC her company can help solve those problems in a matter of seconds.
"It's really the quick, convenient factor of it all," said McClellan. "I've had customers say that once they jump in it for the first time…[they] never want to manually put [sunscreen] on ever again."
SnappyScreen is now at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and plans are in place to roll out to a variety of hotels across the U.S. and Caribbean in November 2014. So far, McClellan has raised $400,000 from angel investors and plans to raise more.
McClellan said a portion of the profits will be donated to the development of educational programs that encourage the prevention and early detection of skin cancer.
See Kristen McClellan Power Pitch her start-up to Women Innovate Mobile founder Kelly Hoey, Prevention magazine's beauty and lifestyle director Olessa Pindak, and Lucaspoint Ventures founder Adam Quinton.
--Additional Reporting by Joanna Weinstein and Kelly Lin