Innovation is one of the things that keep the world going. Every day, new methods and technology are developed to make life easier and bring smiles to the faces of those in need. What if we tell you that one of the latest innovations to make people happier is directly related to making people smile more often, literally?
A group of four experts in orthodontics launched a dental start-up back in the year 2018 to bring a change in the dental field and educate people about smile correctors. Founded by Dr Arpi Mehta, Dr Pravin Shetty, Dr Manjul Jain, and Dr Anirudh Kale, a group of doctors based in Mumbai, Toothsi is a home-grown company with a vision to make people smile more often by smile correction treatment of teeth achieved by the clear aligners designed by the company. At present, their brand has given 11,000 people new smiles and teeth in just a span of three years.
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Initial problems faced by the company-
In India, most people never get their teeth aligned, despite having all the resources, while in other countries, children undergo their first dental consultancy at a very young age. Arpi, one of the co-founders, felt the need to change the age-old metal braces to something more comfortable and reparative, as metal braces are one of the reasons why many teenagers do not want to get their teeth alignment done, and thus, only a small number of people, among the entire population, benefit from braces and teeth aligners.
To make people more interested in getting their teeth aligned through smile correction treatment, Arpi wanted to bring something new in the market that could fill the niche. Her research ended with Invisalign treatment as the solution to make a shift from visible metal to invisible plastic aligners on the teeth. Invisalign treatment is an alternative to metal braces with serving better results and ease and acceptability.
It took her and the group almost a year to research and design invisible teeth aligners made with plastic. The pattern of each set of aligners for teeth is customized based on a pre-program software that helps in finalizing the shape and types of specialized aligners separately for every customer. These aligners do not bother any internal parts of the mouth and are manufactured from German materials to make them harmless, tasteless, irritation-free, flexible, and transparent.
How does the smile correction process work?
To get a new smile, deciding on a smile plan that would best suit the customers is the first step in the journey. A free at-home scanning service is provided to each customer to determine the changes needed in their teeth. Once they approve the smile plan, people at Toothsi start the process of making a customized set of plastic teeth aligners. The aligners are customized and can align the teeth within a period of six to eight months. Despite the covid and the restriction that came with it, the company faced no losses as it served for the correct period for people to stay at home and get comfortable with their new aligners for a period of 6-8 months. These are 70% more effective and relatively cheaper than other methods of smile correction. Every smile has a different story, and the company believes in being a part of people’s transformation journey right from the first dental consultation to the customers being happy and content with their new smiles.
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Toothsi’s Customer Advocacy-
Convincing people to try out invisible plastic aligners was as tough a task as manufacturing it. Since the metal braces do not give the expected results, either due to their visibility or the longer duration of almost two years of wearing them, people in India were still skeptical about the new technology. Arpi and her group made sure to make people aware as much as possible. She would spend hours on calls, and WhatsApp explaining to clients the advantages, results of customized set of aligners, and non-visibility of the plastic. They gave their best to maintain an effective customer relationship with all their clients and worked hard to gain trust.
Mapping the Growth
Toothsi is all set to step into the new phase of success and plans to reach a target of Rs 100 crore annual recurring revenue in the next few months. With what started with an investment of Rs. 5 crores by the co-founders and other investors, Toothsi recently raised $5 million from individual and institutional investors and the total funding of $9 million to the date. Arpi’s journey is an inspiration for many entrepreneurs who want to make a change in the lives of people.
Toothsi, being a D2C form of business, also known as direct-to-customer, does everything right from consulting to designing themselves. Their dominant target market is people of the age group 18-35 years who had missed out on getting their teeth aligned as a kid and now fear the visibility of metal braces. Since the age group majorly comprises gen-z and millennials, the marketing, advertising, and promotion of the brand is largely through tech-savvy modes like business websites and social media to reach the right target market. The company has also collaborated with over 600 dental clinics for the expansion of their reach.
What makes Toothsi different from other similar brands?
The at-home scanning service, full-stack approach to sustain the unit economics, top-quality and satisfactory service and expertise of tech and business help the company in maintaining exceptional reputation while giving tough competition to their competitors at the same time. Toothsi’s home-grown laboratory and manufacturing site are in Mumbai, where right from the start everything takes place. The brand has its offices in various cities across the nation. People in and near Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Pune have experienced the advanced technology of getting their teeth aligned through smile correction treatment. The company aims at expanding its business even more to places where people are not aware of the life-changing technology yet.
The foundation of Toothsi is, indeed, the epitome of hard work and dedication that makes it one of the most successful healthcare start-ups in India. Such stories inspire and keep the spirit of hustle and belief of patience alive. You could build your empire with just a little push; do not forget we are here for that and are always rooting for your success. Good luck!