The Silicon Review
There are a number of good reasons why dentists recommend that certain patients straighten their teeth. A straight smile can certainly be aesthetically pleasing and greatly boost your confidence level, but it must also be noted that properly aligned teeth can drastically improve your oral health and prevent medical issues. Our mouths are populated with millions of bacteria that will remain harmless if kept under control. These potentially harmful bacteria are responsible for periodontal disease, halitosis (bad breath), tooth decay, and other oral issues. It is important to have straight teeth because crowded teeth can create the perfect environment for these bacteria to breed on the food particles that often end up stuck between teeth.
So what can we all do to help straighten our teeth? Enter Byte. Byte offers an at-home, doctor-directed teeth straightening experience. It’s easy. Customer’s impressions are taken at home. Then a licensed orthodontist or dentist uses those impressions and Byte’s unique SmileScience to design a customized treatment plan. The company ships the customer all of their aligners and tracks their progress remotely throughout treatment. Byte’s customer service team is available 24/7 to answer questions or provide support. Byte was founded in 2017, and it is based in Santa Monica, California.
In conversation with Neeraj Gunsagar, President of Byte
Q. What motivated you to reinvent cosmetic dentistry?
A smile can be a huge source of self-confidence, but there are millions of people who haven’t had the opportunity to have their best possible smile for a myriad of reasons—whether it’s cost-prohibitive or they live somewhere without readily available orthodontic services. With Byte, we’re increasing access to care, and by doing so, we’re breaking barriers. In addition, we started ByteCares as Byte’s giving arm that has a goal of improving 10,000 smiles by 2022.
Q. How do you manage to maintain a balance between simplicity, speed, and reliability?
Simplicity, speed, and reliability are easy when you’re thinking about the customer first, and at Byte,
our number 1 Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is customer adoration. Of course, we also have the technology to make it possible. Compared to other invisible aligner options, we’re the fastest thanks to technology other Direct-to-Consumer brands don’t have. HyperByte, our high-frequency vibration device,
cuts the treatment time in half for our customers when they use the device with their aligners for just five minutes a day. But it doesn’t just make our aligners work faster. It provides for more accurate, comfortable treatment.
Q. Flawless dental treatment or cosmetic dentistry comes with an expensive price tag. How you manage to maintain your affordability and profitability?
In-office invisible aligners can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000. Using the Byte teledentistry platform, we’re able to eliminate in-office visit costs and pass those savings directly to our customers, with treatment costing $1,895 when paid in full. We also offer payment plans that are under $100 per month to make straight teeth even more accessible. Licensing and regulation are the main barriers in the telehealth industry, limiting the use of technology to certain providers.
Q. Are regulations hindering your full capacity?
The truth is, licensed dentists and orthodontists are working with remote invisible aligner solutions more and more, overseeing cases in order to increase overall access to care, and as a result, those barriers are coming down. Byte has over 200 doctors in our network that average twelve plus years of clear aligner experience. At least 20 states have adopted policies related to teledentistry offering oral health services remotely, and a lot more are in the works. Of course, there have been some anti-competition efforts often spearheaded by traditional dental associations—who have, in some cases, resisted the telehealth and teledentistry movement, despite customers seeing positive results. But we’re working directly with many states to help increase access to healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q. How do you market your services?
As a Direct-to-Consumer company, we leverage all the traditional digital channels including Google, Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms. Next year we plan on expanding into other channels including offline for branding and awareness. One thing we will never do is sacrifice profitable channels for growth. We’ve built out a deep analytics team and platform that focuses on Cost-Per-Action (CPA) economics across all our channels. We also exclusively work with partners, affiliates, influencers and other marketing partners through “results-based” agreements that make sure we’re all focused on the KPIs that drive the best results for both Byte and our marketing partners.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
The company is currently focusing on the direct-to-consumer side, but we have recently launched BytePro which works side-by-side with dentists and orthodontists to create a powerful B2B offering. We are constantly evaluating complimentary oral care offerings and synergies to provide value and efficiencies in the market.
Q. What are your plans for the future development of your company?
Our number one plan is to continue working towards the goal of making the inaccessible accessible. It’s the driving force behind everything we do and every step we make towards new and sustained growth. As we continue to find ways to address the market in the USA, we’re also looking to help people all over the world regain their smile and confidence. We recently launched Byte in Australia and have a long list of countries that have reached out to us about bringing our service to them. We’re coming soon enough!
Meet the leaders behind the success of Byte
Blake Johnson and Scott Cohen founded Byte in 2017. They’ve been best friends since college, and even though they were both serial entrepreneurs for twenty years—with expertise in digital marketing and finance, respectively—they hadn’t started a business together until Byte.
They created Byte as a mission-driven company focused on increasing access and affordability to orthodontics. Most orthodontic related services, especially clear aligners and braces, have been focused on only high income consumers. They felt that everyone should have the right to rediscover their smile and in turn increase their confidence. They chose Santa Monica, CA, as Byte’s headquarters and now have offices around the country to provide the highest level of support to our hundreds of thousands of Byte customers.
Neeraj Gunsagar joined as Byte’s President in 2019, after eight years at TrueCar where he played an important part in the company’s turnaround in 2012 that eventually led to TrueCar’s IPO in 2014.