The D2C (direct-to-consumer) market has been growing rapidly, with double-digit rates for several years. It is projected to maintain a further 19.2% growth in 2021. Because of how lucrative this business model is, even dental service providers, particularly clear aligner providers have adopted it. Consumers love clear aligners as they are the aesthetically-pleasing and more comfortable alternative to metal braces. The issue with clear dental aligners though has always been the cost and the inconvenience of at least half a dozen visits to the dentist. D2C aligner brands addressed this inconvenience by having customers do everything at home, the idea of their aligners delivered to their doorstep and not having to visit the dentist appealed to many. However, this brought about a whole new problem – these brands completely disregarded the role of dentists in the process and this often resulted in mediocre results for consumers.
Enter Zenyum, a dental start-up founded in 2018 that aims to “make smile transformation easy”. Tweaking the D2C model to something more relevant – the C2D (consumer-to-dentist) model. Approximately 70% cheaper than other clear braces, their invisible braces are made accessible and affordable to everyone. Zenyum does so while emphasising the importance of not only dentist visits but also X-rays. It is mandatory for their customers to visit the dentist for a full consultation once they are deemed suitable for the invisible braces. The consultation session includes an innovative and accurate 3D intraoral scan, used throughout the treatment to minimise dentist visits. Often overlooked by their competitors, Zenyum places an utmost importance on X-ray which are crucial in determining underlying oral health problems such as impacted teeth. Zenyum goes the extra mile to ensure that the set of customised invisible aligners created is well-suited to each and every customer’s needs and concerns.
Celebrating their third birthday this year, Zenyum has had over 100,000 smile assessments, and is currently operating in seven countries in South East Asia (SEA). Considering Zenyum started in a tiny office somewhere in Jurong (Singapore), their progress over the years further highlights the value they bring to consumers. The campaign “The Next Best Thing” was recently launched to emphasise that Zenyum works with qualified dentists all over SEA, and because of this, Zenyum is the next best thing to getting clear aligners directly from an orthodontist.
Natasha Chang, a 26-year-old Singaporean who finally decided to embark on her Zenyum journey after putting off getting braces because of the huge price tag it entails said that her “experience with the supervising dentist was great” and that the dentist “was attentive, professional” and “made further tweaks to the treatment to achieve the results I envisioned”. Natasha also said that she “felt well taken care of”, especially knowing that her progress was monitored closely through the Zenyum app, and if she needed a consultation, she could easily ask for one.
Zenyum has bigger plans in store to utilise their fresh capital of US$40 million which was raised in a Series B round led by L Catterton. They are looking to populate their range of complementary products and advance their technology stack, attracting consumers from all across Asia. Ultimately, Zenyum aims to give consumers the confidence to smile, regardless of their status. Zenyum aims to provide affordable, convenient and accessible dental care to and eventually improve the quality of life of their customers.