Slightly over a year since going public, SmileDirectClub is reporting ongoing growth and announcing several innovative initiatives to better serve its customer base and ensure future market expansion. One of these initiatives involves the integration of new product technology to enhance user comfort.
A direct-to-consumer medtech oral care company, SmileDirectClub has been offering a convenient and effective alternative to old-fashioned braces since 2014. Company founders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman first met at summer camp when they were teenagers. SmileDirectClub was born a number of years later, when the old friends began reminiscing about their unpleasant and uncomfortable teenage experiences with metal braces and other traditional orthodontic appliances.
The pair ultimately developed a teeth-straightening system that offered countless advantages over the unsightly and painful methods of their youth. Beginning with a proprietary platform that uses removable clear aligner trays to shift teeth into optimum position, SmileDirectClub has since created and released a full line of teeth-straightening and general oral health products.
In addition to revolutionizing clinical methods of teeth-straightening, SmileDirectClub operates under a pioneering mission to “democratize orthodontics.” In short, it strives to make its system available to those who have simply been left behind by the conventional orthodontics industry. In the United States alone, more than 60 percent of counties don’t have an orthodontist. SmileDirectClub furthers this goal both through its direct-to-consumer distribution model and by keeping its price points reasonably low.
To make its products and services even more widely available, SmileDirectClub staffs dental care teams 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers can reach these professional teams via email, telephone, video chat, and social media with any questions that they might have.
Thanks to both its innovative products and comprehensive telehealth platform, SmileDirectClub was designed from the ground-up for success. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the company grew rapidly to serve more than a million customers around the world.
After years of successful operations and steady expansion, SmileDirectClub went public in 2019. As the company shares began trading on Nasdaq, Business Insider valued SmileDirectClub at just under $9 billion and both Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman became two of the youngest billionaires in the United States.
SmileDirectClub’s Chief Financial Officer Kyle Wailes credits the boost in capital from the initial public offering for fueling SmileDirectClub’s incredible growth over the past year and enabling the company to take advantage of what he called an ongoing “early state mass market opportunity.” Citing a global population of approximately 500 million people who have some sort of tooth crowding or spacing issue and can afford to pay SmileDirectClub’s affordable rates, Wailes says that there is “clearly plenty of room in the core markets that we continue to expand into.”
As the company progresses in 2021, SmileDirectClub is furthering its growth through a number of strategic initiatives. For example, in 2020, the company announced a new program to expand further into dental offices by partnering with a network of general practitioners. Although this program is still in its early stages, this program has yielded some promising results over the past few months.
Expansion into international markets is another key growth strategy for SmileDirectClub in 2021. Since going global in 2018, the company has established a considerable presence in countries around the world. To take advantage of this potential, the company expanded into multiple countries across Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific.
The third and final major strategic growth initiative for SmileDirectClub in 2021 involves concentrating on the teenage demographic. Teenagers have obviously driven the traditional orthodontic market since SmileDirectClub’s founders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman met at summer camp. However, this demographic currently represents only a small amount of the company’s core consumer base. Therefore, SmileDirectClub stands to gain a great deal by reaching out more directly and effectively to this underserved age group.
In terms of product development, SmileDirectClub is announcing the launch of new features such as a series of retooled and optimized clear aligner trays. This new system of aligners gives SmileDirectClub the ability to move teeth in a significantly more comfortable way.
The recently unveiled SmileDirectClub system starts new members with a softer aligner that provides a gentle introduction to SmileDirectClub treatment. After a period of time, members graduate to a thicker aligner that is a bit firmer and more rigid. As treatment progresses, members continue to trade aligners for optimal results, easing them toward firmer and more predictable teeth movement in a way that is both comfortable and convenient.
To further enhance the wearability of these new SmileDirectClub aligner trays, SmileDirectClub uses an entirely new technology to produce them. The company’s state-of-the-art laser equipment produces a smooth cut line. This technological advancement not only makes SmileDirectClub aligners more comfortable, but more effective.