Barcelona-based teeth alignment startup Impress reported it raised $125 million in Series B funding provided by health care-focused Norgine Ventures, LBO France and Claret Capital Partners, bringing total funding to $155.8 million.
It’s one of many startups in the orthodontics space tackling pandemic-fueled cosmetic dissatisfaction called the “Zoom Effect.” The never-ending Zoom meetings have allowed people to pay more attention to what they look like, and are now more conscious about otherwise-forgotten crooked teeth or small gaps.
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Impress, which makes a clear teeth aligner to alleviate the need for traditional braces, employs a hybrid model where patients can connect with their doctor in-person or via the app and book appointments or do virtual oral scans. The 3-year-old startup has 130 clinics scattered across eight countries in Europe (80% of which are profitable, it says), and plans to use the new funding to expand in-person clinics and production facilities for its clear aligner.
Invisalign maker Align Technology and direct-to-consumer SmileDirectClub have long claimed the invisible teeth aligner market in the U.S. But there are problems with this model: Teeth alignment also affects the jaw and neck, and often requires professional monitoring beyond what to-your-doorstep kits allow. The American Dental Association publicly discredited SmileDirectClub and several customers have reported problems after using its service.
Several startups have entered the space of “invisible braces.” California-based InBrace raised $102 million in Series D funding last year, according to Crunchbase data. The company makes behind-the-teeth lingual braces which use something like a memory-foam string to align teeth. Another, bbyte, was acquired by Dentsply Sirona in 2020 for $1.04 billion.
Impress stands out in a time when overall venture funding to European startups has declined. Venture activity in Europe dropped 38% in Q2 compared to the same time last year, following a worldwide trend in venture capital firms tightening their purse strings as they brace for an economic downtown, according to Crunchbase data.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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