SmileDirectClub’s former CEO is back with a new dental startup called Tend – TechCrunch

Tend is amongst a rising variety of new dental manufacturers which might be attracting cash from enterprise buyers who’re nonetheless kicking themselves for lacking runaway tales. Most notable amongst these is newly public SmileDirectClub, which sells teeth-straightening merchandise on to customers and is beloved by analysts regardless that its shares have slipped since its September IPO.

Other startups to extra just lately entice personal funding embrace Swift Health Systems, a five-year-old firm that makes invisible braces beneath the model INBRACE and simply raised $45 million from VCs; Henry the Dentist, a two-year-old, cellular dental clinic that raised $10 million earlier this 12 months; and Quip, the five-year-old maker of electrical toothbrushes and oral care merchandise that has garnered roughly $62 million from buyers.

Still, Tend is particularly notable, and never as a result of it simply raised $36 million in seed and Series A funding — which it did, led by Redpoint Ventures. First and foremost, Tend sees a possibility to reinvent the dentist’s workplace, via “tech and training” that “prioritizes” your consolation, a glossy ready space that it guarantees you’ll virtually by no means want to make use of, and “Netflix in your chair” that you’ll take pleasure in whereas sporting the newest and best Bose headphones.

Tend says it’s going to additionally get your favourite present queued up earlier than you arrive in your appointment, which you’ll breezily e book on-line, and whose costs you possibly can study upfront, so that you don’t undergo sticker shock later. A Fast Company reporter who visited the startup’s newly opened flagship retailer in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood was even supplied a choice of solely the best toothpastes, together with that of Marvis, an Italian model that is available in such distinct flavors as Amarelli licorice, cinnamon, ginger and jasmine — to not point out “classic strong,” “whitening,” and “aquatic.”

It all sounds faintly ridiculous, but in addition pretty good, particularly contrasted with conventional dentist places of work, which are usually each extremely antiseptic and astonishingly obscure about pricing.

Certainly, enhancing on the affected person expertise has labored out nicely for One Medical, a venture-backed, tech-driven chain of 70 clinics that has turn out to be one of many largest impartial teams within the U.S. (It’s additionally reportedly prepping an IPO.)  Little surprise that one particular person participant in Tend’s new funding is Tom Lee, the doctor who created One Medical in 2007 and led it as CEO till 2017.

Others particular person buyers embrace Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa of Warby Parker; Zach Weinberg of Flatiron Health; and Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures.

Tend’s cofounder and CEO is no slouch, both. seemingly. Doug Hudson was the CEO of SmileDirectClub for three-and-a-half years, starting in 2013. Before that, he based two medical care corporations that have been acquired: Hearing Planet and Simplex Healthcare.

Whether that pedigree is sufficient to get the corporate going will take a while to know however definitely, it’s chasing after a enormous market that may very plainly be made higher.  In the U.S. alone, the dental market is now a $137 billion market, in keeping with the analysis group IBIS World, and as Hudson notes in a new Medium put up about his newest startup, dentistry has a Net Promoter Score of 1, which is simply two factors increased than dreaded cable corporations.

Consumers “don’t accept this level of service in any other aspect of our lives. Not when shopping for glasses. Not when exercising at home with a stationary bike,” he writes, and it’s true. If Tend can enhance the expertise even a little bit and its costs are aggressive, we’d guess it has a shot.

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