SmileDirectClub just became the latest digital health company to file to go public.
On Friday the company filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its IPO. According to the filing, the company is seeking to raise $100 million, though that’s a placeholder amount that can change.
SmileDirectClub is a startup that provides clear aligners for teeth. While it typically costs anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 to get traditional braces or Invisalign-brand aligners, SmileDirectClub goes for a fraction of that — you can either pay $1,895 up front, or a total of $2,290 total spread out over two years.
The idea behind SmileDirectClub is to make straightening teeth more affordable by cutting out the steps of going in-person to a dentist or orthodontist to get braces or other alignments. The company was started by Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman in 2014.
It’s part of a group of companies that have embraced the idea of going directly to consumers with products like clear aligners or prescription drugs, with the intent of making the process more convenient and cheaper.
In October 2018, SmileDirectClub raised $380 million from private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as well as venture firms Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital. The round valued the company at $3.2 billion— up from $275 million just two years earlier.
According to the IPO filing, SmileDirectClub’s net loss widened from $33.8 million in the first half of 2018 to $52.9 million in 2018. The company has increased its customer count from 22,000 in 2016 to about 246,000 in the first half of this year.
SmileDirectClub declined to comment beyond the filing.
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