A smile is contagious. If one person standing at one corner smiles at another, it is rare that the other person will not smile back. A smile can uplift the moods of others and does make one look good in pictures.
To perfect the smile, youngsters make several rounds to dental clinics to bind their teeth with metal wires and brackets only to get pain and internal mouth cuts afterwards. In some cases, teenagers and young teens deny tying braces due to it being largely visible.
Moreover, metal dental braces cause poor dental hygiene and tooth staining as brush bristles and floss are barely able to reach all corners. The broken wire and dental braces can cause internal bleeding resulting in possible dental infections.
Taking inspiration from the San Jose-headquartered AlignTechnology, the makers of Invisalign braces, and realising this to be a potential in the Indian market Dr. Arpi Mehta, co-founder, and CEO of Toothsi, founded Toothsi- a D2C smile makeover dental chain in 2018.
How did Toothsi happen to Dr. Arpi Mehta?
Dr. Arpi Mehta pursued a certification in lingual (invisible) orthodontics. Upon understanding that teeth alignment through metal braces is a painful process that also causes other dental problems, she partnered with three orthodontists, Pravin Shetty, Manjul Jain, and Anirudh Kale to launch smile makeover service Toothsi in Mumbai in November 2018. The startup’s target audience belongs to the age bracket of 18-35 years of individuals. The startup began with a bootstrapping amount of Rs 5 crore from friends and co-founders.
Dr. Arpi Mehta’s Toothsi is disrupting the dental braces market by providing invisible teeth aligners that are customised flexible plastic trays pre-programmed through software to move a set of teeth in a certain manner. Noticing Indian youngsters are highly conscious about looks and take efforts to look picture-perfect,Toothsi’s customised invisible teeth aligner stands perfect in the product-market fit.
Its invisible teeth aligners also guarantee smile correction within 6-8 months compared to 1-2 years from metal braces. Today, Toothsi is present in Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Pune and till date have delivered 11,000 smile makeover plans, and has ambitious plans to generate Rs 100 crore annual recurring revenue (ARR) in a few months.
Toothsi is disrupting the dental braces market by providing invisible teeth aligners that are customised flexible plastic trays pre-programmed through software to move a set of teeth in a certain manner.
The D2C Business Model of Toothsi
Toothsi provided end-to-end dental solutions for its entire array of products. The manufacturing operations take place in its Mumbai-based laboratory.
It follows a D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) model to provide customised teeth aligners. It provides in-house services right from dental counselling to scanning to treatment procedures and planning and manufacturing.
Toothsi’s unique products and services
The products are manufactured according to German manufacturing standards to be transparent, tasteless, lightweight, flexible. Each teeth aligner is customised to meet specific dental requirements. The Toothsi aligners do not restrict tongue or jaw mobility and give zero pain.
They also provide free-of-cost, at-home scanning services by experts. The scans are further evaluated to create a personalised ‘smile plan’ for each customer with detailed digital visualisation to understand the before and after picture of the transformation. The smile plans once approved by the customer goes for payment, and Toothsi home delivers the aligners.
Recent Funding – Toothsi
Recently Toothsi has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Eight Road Ventures, Think Investments, and the Mankekar Family Office. It had earlier raised $5 million as Series A funding in January 2021.
Future for Dental care or cosmetology startups adopting the D2C model
According to Avendus Capital, the D2C business in India is projected to become a $100 billion market in India. Businesses across verticals such as retail, e-commerce, FMCG are adopting this model for acquiring more customers. Adopting the D2C model can benefit dental care or cosmetology startups by delivering products or services directly to consumers instead of channelising through intermediaries, which is cost-saving and gives convenience.
Following the D2C route, will help the startups to generate more sales, as they can sell their products and services at lower costs than their competitor by gaining autonomy over the marketing and manufacturing of products from beginning to end.