Today we are happy to announce that Uniform Teeth and Canaan are partnering on a $10M Series A investment (with participation by existing investors Lerer Hippeau, Refactor Capital, Slow Ventures and Brainchild), and I’ll be joining the board. We are fortunate to partner with Meghan and Kjeld, who are using technology to pioneer the future of orthodontics and oral wellness for both patients and clinicians.
Left to right Dr. Noor Mahjoub DDS, MS; Clinical Director Dr. Tera Poole DDS, MS; Dr. Zhanna Konovalenko DDS, MS
Uniform Teeth is a modern orthodontic experience built around orthodontist-led care with an obsession over quality. We provide a modern hybrid telehealth/clinic experience — wrapped together by a proprietary software stack that enables faster/more affordable care — where your orthodontist is never further away than your pocket.
The startup world has seen the rise of entrepreneurs seeking to reinvent both oral care and orthodontics. Many direct-to-consumer teeth straightening companies have gained popularity but they’re focused on cosmetic cases (which make up only 25 percent of the market). Within that subset, they compete on price — cutting out the most expensive aspect of care (the orthodontist) to cut costs, and requiring tremendous marketing spend to drive growth.
Uniform Teeth is different. We provide the personal touch of an orthodontist — face-to-face care, true clinical expertise — but use technology and design to make it delightful and dramatically more efficient. We offer high-quality care at a fair price.
Orthodontics has been around since the mid-1800’s but braces are still the dominant form of treatment today. How did we get here? Unfortunately, the cost of quality, orthodontist-led care has barely declined (averaging $5–6K) and thus excludes hundreds of millions of consumers. It’s estimated there are >400M consumers globally that would benefit from care if it was more accessible, representing a multi-billion dollar market opportunity.
The rise of clear aligner-led treatment over the last two decades has brought novel approaches to reducing treatment time and offering a more functional product that can meet the aesthetic desires of the modern consumer. However, getting quality orthodontic care is not a one size fits all product or experience — it’s a true healthcare product. There is a spectrum of case complexity ranging from cosmetic and comprehensive to complex (cases that border on oral surgery). Comprehensive and complex cases represent 75% of the market and require in-person clinician intervention (such as IPR and attachments) and failure to do so can result in serious oral and health-related consequences. While many new entrants have brought affordability to the cosmetic portion of the market (predicated on distancing the patient from the clinician), there is a huge whitespace for a more enduring solution that can comprehensively treat the entire market.
We think that solution is Uniform Teeth. It works this way: any consumer (or parents with teenagers) can book a free consultation (currently 2 clinics in SF, expanding to Seattle and Chicago in early 2020) to get scanned and meet with an orthodontist. They spend on avg. 30 minutes with patients vs the industry norm of 2–3 minutes. In 30 minutes you’ll know your treatment plan and process — that includes all-in price and estimated treatment time (which averages 6 months today). Once you decide to move forward, you’ll get clear aligners by mail within 2 weeks and can begin treatment. Using the Uniform Teeth telehealth app, you’ll check in with your clinical team weekly with a simple selfie photo that can be done from the comfort of your couch. Most patients only need to visit the clinic 3 times over the course of treatment (typically beginning, middle and end). We believe delivering amazing care cannot be delivered 100% remotely. Your orthodontist is never further from your pocket — asking a question or scheduling an in-person visit is always easy. Uniform Teeth’s product is priced based on case complexity — since no two mouths are the same — but is on average 70% the cost of incumbent offerings. Prices typically range from $2,000–3,000/case, with attractive financing options available (for those who qualify).
Patients are one side of the experience but clinicians are equally important. The challenge of clinician burnout is often overlooked in the industry. We know that providing great care requires great talent. We think about the experience of orthodontists as much as we think about the patients they serve. That means developing modern, clinician-facing software tools to reduce repetitive/admin tasks, improve treatment plan precision and enhance tech interoperability with other providers, such as your dentist (so they can share notes and x-rays for continuity of care). Side note: if you’re a recent graduate or seasoned clinician interested in helping craft the future of orthodontics, drop us a note!
All of this highlights our overall focus: using technology to improve the provider and patient relationship. We believe this is the key to unlocking value in the market. And we are already seeing the results of this focus at Uniform Teeth: orthodontists are 5–7x more productive than the industry average. However, efficiency at the expense of patient experience is shortsighted. Our approach allowed us to maintain exceptionally high-quality standards. Orthodontists spend on average 10x more time with patients and we see this in the company’s latest NPS score of 85. Meghan and Kjeld have been deliberate and careful in their approach to build the foundation required to succeed in this market, including homegrown technology, world class clinical staff and clinic locations that conveniently fit in the lives of busy consumers. Having grown from 20 to 60 team members over the last year, this round of capital will allow them to scale across the U.S. in 2020 and beyond.
Meghan (CEO) was previously a healthcare operating executive at both OneMedical and Davita, leading large regions in the Pacific Northwest and California, to serve patients across primary care and dialysis. Kjeld (Chief Orthodontist) is a UCSF-trained orthodontist and one of the leading minds in this generation’s class of skilled clinicians, responsible for inventing the Uniform Teeth treatment planning approach that allows for faster and more precise outcomes.
As entrepreneurship has become part of the global cultural fabric, the often quoted adage of “move fast and break things” has become the common expression to represent an approach to rapid iteration in a market where the customer is pulling product out of your hands. That may work for the next social networking app — but do you really want to be treated by a team that thinks it’s okay to “break things” when treating you or your child’s mouth? If not, check out our customer references here and here. If you’re so inclined, book a free consultation and let us earn the right to serve you through exceptional care.