The mouth tech industry is continuing to pick up steam with electric toothbrush startup Quip’s latest $10 million funding round from Silicon Valley Bank and its acquisition of dental insurance startup Afora. Afora is a New York-based startup that offers an alternative to traditional dental insurance with plans starting at $25 a month. All of its plans include preventive services like two cleanings per year, annual exams and x-rays, and pre-negotiated pricing for additional work, like root canals.
Afora will now be part of Quip’s newly formed venture studio, Quip Labs. The idea with the studio is to fuel innovation in oral health products, platforms and services. Quip did not explicitly mention any other companies it has its eyes on, but the goal with Quip Labs is to enable the startup to explore new ideas in the dental health space, regardless of whether they’re related to Quip’s core offering, Quip CEO Simon Enever told TechCrunch via email.
Quip began as a subscription-based electric toothbrush service that replaces tooth paste and brush heads, partly because you’re apparently supposed to change your toothbrush every three months. But before this acquisition, Quip had already started evolving its offerings by inviting dentists to join the platform to connect with Quip’s consumer subscribers.
“Our mission has always been to provide an end-to-end solution that makes the preventative care routine — which is so critical to your oral health — more simple, affordable and enjoyable, Enever said.
Quip specifically wants to handle the everything that happens before and after your checkups with the dentist, Enever said. In order to get there, Enever said Quip needed to start with an affordable electric toothbrush, “but we are extremely excited to start accelerating our mission to provide more digital and professional services that complete this loop to more people.”
Other startups in the dental health space include clear teeth aligner startups. One of them, Uniform Teeth, recently closed a $4 million seed round. Whether Quip decides to expand into the clear aligner market remains to be seen, but Enever said “our broad mission is to improve oral health as a whole.”
He added, “Quip labs allows us to explore all aspects of mouth care and the various ways we could help make other health focused services more simple and accessible to more people, always in a manner that aligns with the best practices of the dental professionals behind them.”
Quip’s last funding round came in November 2017, when it raised $10 million from Sherpa Capital, Blue Scorpion VC, Demi Lovato and others. The plan with this round is to further accelerate the company’s expansion into “new physical and digital products and services to serve our members,” Enever said. To date, Quip has raised over $20 million in funding.