Our Founder's Story

Makeup shopping has always been difficult for me because my skin tone is so hard to match. I’d roam from counter to counter searching for the right shades. Even makeup professionals have a hard time getting my colors right. I even tried shopping in different countries!

I soon found that I wasn’t alone. My Caucasian girlfriends as well as my Asian girlfriends admitted that they all struggled, too! I wasn’t crazy— so many women have this issue and don’t know where to turn.

As a computer scientist and researcher, I knew that this was a problem I could solve. Having recently focused my professional career on mobile consumer apps, I knew how much imaging technology had advanced. I knew I could build a team that would get it right. I began working with color scientists on a solution—Kokko Beauty.

With Kokko Beauty, I want to create the ultimate beauty counter experience—having the perfect consultant with in-depth knowledge of many, many lines of makeup who could really see my skin tone and then know what the right product should be. 

I truly believe that all women have a LEGITIMATE RIGHT to their beauty. I’m proud that Kokko Beauty can help you find those products that will make you look and feel terrific, no matter WHO YOU ARE. 


— DR. NINA BHATTI, CEO & Founder of Kokko, Inc.


Nina Bhatti, PhD

Inspired by her own personal journey with selecting and purchasing beauty products, computer scientist and innovator Nina Bhatti, Ph.D., founded Kokko in 2014 with a mission of delivering a scientifically accurate color cosmetics-matching solution for all women. Nina is formerly Chief Architect, Mobile & Cloud Systems, at Hewlett-Packard; Chief Scientist, Mobile Color Research Group, at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories; and Senior Technologist at Nokia.

Nina earned her Ph.D., M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Arizona, and her B.A. in Computer Science & Math from U.C. Berkeley. Nina holds 24 granted patents in imaging, mobile & web applications.


Meli Pennington
Director of Makeup Artistry

With more than 20 years of experience as a makeup artist for fashion and commercial photography, Meli Pennington has worked for clients including Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Marc Jacobs, Vogue, Allure, Elle, Glamour and Teen Vogue. Meli has worked with many celebrities, including Cyndi Lauper, Dakota Fanning, Carrie Underwood, and Alanis Morrissette. 

Meli has a fine arts degree, with additional studies in color theory, and trained under makeup legend and Shiseido Creative Director Dick Page. She has also worked with many of the top editorial photographers, including Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, and Walter Chin. In her spare time, Meli writes about the interplay of beauty, art, technology and culture at her blog Wild Beauty


Kokko Team & Advisors


Scott Trappe
VP Product & Engineering

Paul Lettieri, PhD
iOS Engineering

Scott Clearwater, PhD
Data Scientist

John Guenther
Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Experience Design


Rayna Fagen
eCommerce & Digital Marketing
Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Clinique & MAC


Jérôme Berclaz, PhD
Computer Vision

Prof. Sabine Süsstrunk
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Computational Photography & Color Imaging


Teresa Tauchi
Product Management/Marketing

Kevin George
Brand & Marketing Consultant

Deborah Henken
Product Marketing Consultant