Exclusive: Torch Dental fills $28M Series B for digital supply marketplace
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.
- Dental supply marketplace provider Wellplaece in May gathered $5.5 million in seed funding.
- Planet DDS, a PE-backed provider of dental tech software, in January acquired dental practice management system provider Cloud 9 Software from Accel-KKR.
- Home teeth cleaning device maker Proclaim in June closed a $15 million Series B round.
- Bristle, a startup developing the first home saliva test for oral health, last July raised $3 million in seed funding.
🔥 One fun thing: Boukadoum says Torch's name comes from his team's goal of bringing transparency to an otherwise opaque supply industry.