Seattle Tech Company RealSelf is Making Connections in the Cosmetic-Surgery World

The company is at the center of a booming cosmetic-treatment industry
COSMETIC TECH. RealSelf founder and Chief Executive Officer Tom Seery, third from left, with his staff, from left, Denise Jaeschke, Maureen Ezekwugo, Judy Stern, Avinash Sharma and Madison Phillips.

This article appears in print in the January/February 2020 issue. Click here for a free subscription.

RealSelf is all about appearances.

The fast-growing company allows consumers considering cosmetic procedures to share their experiences and connect with providers. Seattle-based RealSelf’s database contains more than 20,000 board-certified medical professionals and also features unbiased professional reviews.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Tom Seery launched the company in 2006 after his wife became suspicious while researching laser treatments.

“The brochure my wife showed me said everything would be perfect,” recalls Seery, who was an executive with Expedia Inc. at the time. “It reminded me of what travel agents were doing. When it comes to your body, face or smile, these considerations are very important, and the return policy in the industry is rather ineffective.”

Seery calls Seattle-based RealSelf a tech company “in a very consumer-centric marketplace.” It raised $40 million in a series B funding round in 2018, employs more than 200 and has 18 open positions.

The global cosmetic surgery and procedure market is predicted to be worth almost $44 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research Inc.

“The industry is one of the fastest-growing discretionary purchases in America right now,” Seery says.

At RealSelf, the most researched surgical cosmetic treatments include tummy tucks, breast augmentation and Brazilian butt lifts. Botox is the most popular minimally invasive treatment. Seventy-one percent of clients are women.

While external appearances are at the core of RealSelf’s business, the company’s internal culture stresses innovation and autonomy. Seery emphasizes collaboration by encouraging each employee to think like an owner and works to be inclusive and honest about company initiatives and challenges.

Company employees voted RealSelf onto Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” last year.

“I enjoy most the openness and willingness to help others. I don't have the feeling that people are holding back so they have job security or some hidden agenda,” wrote one employee on the anonymous nomination form. Wrote another: “RealSelf continues to push us every day to continue to think as an entrepreneur, which enables people who have been here for a long time to grow.”

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