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Exclusive: Torch Dental fills $28M Series B for digital supply marketplace

Illustration of a computer keyboard key with an icon of a tooth on it.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Dental supply provider Torch Dental filled a $28 million Series B, co-CEO Khaled Boukadoum tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Current labor shortages have underlined the need for more efficient dental clinics, and the process of buying and tracking dental supplies has remained fairly antiquated.

Details: Health Velocity Capital led the round, bringing total funding to $40 million.

  • Previous backers Bessemer Venture Partners, FJ Labs, Felicis Ventures, Tectonic Ventures, Raga Partners and Town Hall Ventures participated.
  • Funds will be put to use helping Torch expand geographically into the South, Southwest, Midwest and mountain regions, hiring more engineering and marketing staff and expanding its services.

What's next: Boukadoum foresees Torch biting off a Series C within the next 12 months, "if the market is turning around."

  • If the market "stays sideways, we don't need to raise in the near term," he adds.

How it works: New York City-based Torch offers dental practices custom dashboards for centralized ordering and spending management in an effort to save them time and money.

  • Roughly 2,000 dental practices are currently signed up with Torch and can order supplies from up 110 vendors.
  • Boukadoum says the company saves practices an average of 16% on supplies.

The backstory: Khaled (and twin brother and co-CEO Yassine Boukadoum) started Torch after hearing how difficult it was for their sister, a dentist named Meriem, to track products and find reasonable prices.

  • "There was no digital solution for her to do product management or ordering or tracking vendors, and pricing was super opaque," Khaled recalls. "She was like hey, you’re an MBA. I can’t figure this out. Can you?"

The intrigue: The dental supply industry is dominated by three well-established — but largely analog — players in the dental supply industry: Henry Schein ($10.7 billion market cap), Patterson Dental ($3.1 billion market cap) and Benco Dental.

  • Investor and Bessemer Ventures partner Kent Bennett says providers have grown increasingly keen on modern tools.
  • "There's been a big tipping point," Bennett tells Axios. "You walk around with a phone in your pocket, you don't accept the status quo that's analog."

State of play: Dental tech enablers of both supplies and back-of-office software have attracted recent interest from venture and private equity players, as have providers of home technologies for oral health.

🔥 One fun thing: Boukadoum says Torch's name comes from his team's goal of bringing transparency to an otherwise opaque supply industry.

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