Let’s be real. After spending months or years wearing braces, it’s difficult to remember to wear a retainer. But, don’t wear a retainer, and those perfectly straight teeth end up shifting a bit.
Newly launched startup Candid wants to target those of us who just can’t remember to wear a retainer.
Started by two D.C. metro area natives, Candid wants to do what Warby Parker did for eyeglasses, but for clear aligners like Invisalign.
People looking to make minor cosmetic changes to their teeth’s alignment can head to Candid’s website, order a $95 modeling kit to create an impression of their teeth, ship the impressions back and be offered a plan for mail-in, monthly clear aligners.
Each modeling kit is analyzed by a local orthodontist in the customer’s state, and Candid offers the service in all states except North Carolina, where the state doesn’t have the appropriate telemedicine laws for Candid to work under.
“It doesn’t matter whether or not you live in the middle of the city or the middle of the country, anywhere that USPS goes, we will deliver,” said Nick Greenfield, CEO and co-founder.
Candid isn’t targeting customers in need of major orthodontry work. If someone submits a modeling kit that indicates that they might need more extensive work to align their teeth, Candid refers those patients out to local specialists and informs the customer.
Customers who do qualify for the monthly program can pay $1,900 upfront or arrange a payment plan for $88/month for 24 months. Invisalign’s average costs usually run between $3,000 to $8,000 for the full treatment.
“Our business is focused on moving what we call the social six — the top six and bottom six teeth — that are easy to maneuver with clear aligners,” Greenfield said. “We’re not trying to do really complex orthodontry where you need wires or brackets.”
Greenfield said the company is able to keep the prices relatively low, compared to the typical orthodontist pricing, because of the low-hassle model. Candid doesn’t need to set up a office, purchase expensive medical equipment and spend money on any other operating costs. Orthodontists are compensate for each customer kit analyzed and for each treatment plan they design.
“Rather than taking a huge margin, our business operates in a way that has a lower margin than a standard dentist or orthodontist offering clear aligners,” Greenfield said. “Our strategy is to be able to scale. In our model, we’re going to be able to have thousands or tens of thousands of cases per year.”
This isn’t Greenfield’s first startup. Based in New York City currently, Greenfield has had his run with a few different startups along the way. Like Washio, the on-demand dry cleaning startup that shut down in August 2016. Greenfield helped launch their D.C. operations while he worked at the startup from 2013-2015.
Candid has a team of 14 employees, Greenfield said, and the company raised an undisclosed amount in its seed round. Investors include Los Angeles-based Arena Ventures and WndrCo, the fund from former DreamWorks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg. Greenfield said they’re looking to raise their Series A in the near future.
For now, Greenfield said Candid is focused on trying to serve as many customers as possible.
“We want to serve a diverse group of customers that doesn’t just include people who can afford orthodontra at the standard fee,” he said.