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Floss Bar

Floss Bar leverages local networks of licensed dentists and hygienists to bring pop-up dental services onsite and nearsite, for the busy Millennial. I sat down with Eva Sadej, CEO and founder, to discuss how Floss Bar is continuing to grow and evolve its Millennial-friendly oral care offering.

Today’s Dental Landscape: Not So Fresh and So Clean

We care about our teeth. We believe in oral health, value employers’ dental benefits, and take pride in our pearly whites. But 46% of working adults, and 60% of Millennials, go without consistent dental care. Why?

The road to dental care is convoluted and intimidating – the process of getting ourselves to the dentist is far from easy. We have to navigate complex dental insurance plans to understand what’s covered and not, estimate the seemingly unpredictable and highly variable costs of our next visit, and set up appointments with in-network dentists weeks in advance. Beyond logistics, the inconvenience of leaving work for a few hours, the pain of spending too much time in that unpleasant chair, and the embarrassment associated with answering questions like ‘how often do you floss?’ are emotional barriers to getting the consistent dental care we want and need. For the busy Millennial, going to the dentist more is ideal, but simply not a priority – it’s too costly, time-consuming, and stressful.

“Our average customer is 29, female, employed full-time at a company, and hasn’t seen the dentist for two years. They’re people that used to go to the dentist, and now aren’t on their parents’ insurance, so they don’t know the logistics of setting up appointments, or going through insurance.”

– Eva Sadej, CEO and Founder, Floss Bar

Floss Bar’s model brings licensed dentists and hygienists to conference rooms, businesses, residential towers, coworking spaces, and more, offering convenient, accessible, and affordable services onsite and nearsite. Floss Bar allows those who’ve pushed dentist visits to the back burner to simply sign up for a time slot that works for them, walk nearby to where the Floss Bar’s been set up, get the appropriate treatment, and return to their desk, deed done. Online sign-up, predictable costs, nearby location, and convenient timing inject seamlessness to the dental care journey; visiting the dentist feels as easy as going to a fitness class or getting a haircut. The friction points in the end-to-end patient journey are removed, and time, money, and stress are saved.

And from the employer’s point of view, Floss Bar makes employees happier and healthier at no additional cost. Floss Bar handles it all – provider selection, facility set-up, appointment scheduling – and even bills insurance companies directly. Floss Bar’s services are low risk and high-potential, offering benefits from a human capital perspective – the declared commitment to employee health promotes attraction and retention of talent, and efficiency from fewer wasted work hours and sick days.

“Companies are feeling the strain of rising healthcare costs on their bottom lines. As gatekeepers to the health benefits of millions of Americans, employers have the power to demand a reversal of this trend.”

– Eva Sadej, CEO and Founder, Floss Bar

Floss Bar speaks to busy Millennials by making dental care more accessible

Billion-Dollar Smiles

As more convenient options in the health and dental space are seeing success, the market is hot. Zocdoc’s online medical appointment booking service was valuated in 2015 at about $2B. Concierge medical services startup One Medical just raised $320M in a seed round after being valuated at just over $1B. The recent $3.2B valuation of SmileDirectClub was record breaking.

While these healthcare unicorns drum up interest in this market, logistical and operational set up in the healthcare and dental care world are complicated and pose high barriers to entry. Breaking into the oral health space is complex and expensive, but there is clear opportunity: the US dental market is a $134B market, with expectations of 5.2% annual growth. Floss Bar was among the first to target on-site oral care specifically, benefiting from being an earlier entrant in this space. But as this continues to prove itself as an attractive market, Floss Bar faces competition from a growing number of other on-site dental care providers – Virtudent, Henry the Dentist, Onsite dental, and Dentist on Demand, to name a few.

Despite the increasingly saturated landscape, the Floss Bar team is confident in what sets them apart: national reach, thoughtful pricing, and Millennial brand. While Floss Bar is most prominent in the Northeast due to its headquarters in New York, Floss Bar can go anywhere in the US. Floss Bar activates local bases of dentists and hygienists, and puts them through online training and exams, to ensure high quality without sending dentists all around the country. This model keeps costs of entering new territories low, and scalability high. From a pricing perspective, Floss Bar offers cost savings for all. Consumers can pay out of pocket for dental services at lower Floss Bar rates, or can leverage Floss Bar’s concierge to ensure that the services they’re signing up for are covered by existing insurance plans. No more hours holding on the phone for available customer service agents, or moments of dread when getting hit with unexpected medical bills. Dental insurance can even be forgone altogether, in favor of lower a la carte service pricing. Dentists and hygienists benefit in that they’re granted access to new streams of revenue – Floss Bar drives new, dense pockets of demand for these oral care providers, charging just an hourly fee in return. From an employer or human resources provider point of view, Floss Bar comes at no additional cost. And finally, the Floss Bar brand is distinct in that it’s for Millennials and by Millennials. Hashtags like #stayflossy and tag lines like ‘For People with Teeth’ dominate Floss Bar’s marketing channels. Dialogues like ‘Yep, you read it right, we’re here!’ speak to the Millennial-demanded seamlessness of the Floss Bar experience.

Floss Bar’s brand is distinctly Millennial

Eva + Floss Bar: Where It All Started

Eva Sadej comes from a medical family – she grew up with doctors, nurses, and medical administrators in her home and always around her. After getting her undergraduate degree from Harvard, she worked as a hedge fund analyst at Bridgewater for over four years. Interested in starting her own venture and wanting to start a career more in line with her personal passions, Eva left Bridgewater to attend the Wharton School and pursue her entrepreneurial goals.

Eva Sadej, Founder and CEO

Eva noticed that while the boon of technological innovation has streamlined and simplified many aspects of our lives today, the process of getting to the dentist still presents logistical annoyances and psychological hurdles to overcome. In interviewing other Millennials around her, she found that getting proper, consistent dental care was especially daunting – there had to be a better way of doing this.

“The business models prevalent in newer tech startups, I wanted bring to bear in the dental industry. The goal was to make dental care much more accessible from a price and convenience perspective, and much less scary.”

– Eva Sadej, CEO and Founder, Floss Bar

And the implications of enabling more consistent dental care go far beyond cleaner teeth and brighter smiles. Eva is passionate about mouth body health, and strongly believes in the public health angle of Floss Bar, emphasizing its ability to tap into the educational aspect of dental care – Floss Bar’s clinicians focus more on education versus mandates. While the scientific community understands that a significant percentage of systemic disease is connected to oral health, consumers – both employers and patients – have not fully realized the importance of consistent dental care.

“Routine dental care is a proven gateway to preventing disease and promoting overall health. Oral care professionals can be the earliest preventers, detectors and coaches to help patients avoid serious and costly medical conditions.”

– Eva Sadej, CEO and Founder, Floss Bar

At the confluence of all these factors – Eva’s medical family, Millennial understanding, and public health mission – was the realization that on-site, at-work healthcare was on the rise. While Floss Bar markets to consumers in a B2C way, the reality is that most Millennials are leaving work to go to the dentist. So as innovative B2B models of delivering healthcare on-site, especially at work, take center stage, why not do the same for dental care?

Armed with the mission of pushing oral care up our lists of priorities, and a clear sense of what she needed to offer to execute on this goal, Eva launched Floss Bar in July of 2017.

Teeth first. What’s next?

Floss Bar’s success has stemmed from its scalability, leveraging its technology to activate robust local labor pools and ensuring accessible services nationwide. Because Floss Bar is a management company handling healthcare logistics and marketing the end-to-end patient journey, it can adapt its model and isn’t confined to a certain geography or sector. But with the increasingly saturated market and maturation of competitors in the on-site healthcare service space, Floss Bar is in a race for scale and scope. Given ‘consistent oral care’ is defined as once or twice a year, returning clients and recurring revenue streams are important, but sales increasing the volume of clients are key. Timing-wise, it currently takes Floss Bar just three weeks to get set up in a new location in its more mature states in the Northeast, but in other cities across the US, it takes Floss Bar three months. With competitors like Dentists on Demand, which has a San Francisco office, taking hold of regions outside of the Northeast, Floss Bar will need to be more cost-effective and faster to market than its competitors to really emerge as a dominant force in the field, rather than a smaller, regional player.

Luckily, the company should have enough funding runway to continue expanding in the near future. Sadej shared that the company has raised a seed round, but declined to share both the size of the round and the identity of the investors. Beyond optimizing its current offering, Floss Bar is securing more competitive advantage by evolving and expanding its scope of services. By incorporating vision and hearing services into their model, Floss Bar is seizing the opportunity to enter markets for peripheral health services – Ear Bar and Eye Bar will launch in January. I’m excited to see on-site dental, hearing, and vision services roll out under one umbrella, and am curious to watch as Floss Bar grows and evolves. Time will tell if Floss Bar ultimately reaches the point of providing general medical services via doctors and nurses, and truly realizing its potential as a full-service onsite healthcare provider.

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