Beam Dental: 从智能牙刷转型卖牙科保险
近日，美国牙科保险企业 Beam Dental 宣布，获得 2500 万美元融资，投资方为 Kleiner Perkins 。
在 Beam 官网上，对自己产品的表述为：刷得越好，付得越少。
客户需要购买 Beam 的牙刷及保险，并要定期更换牙刷头，使用智能牙刷与 APP 共享数据。假如顾客坚持刷牙，或者经常使用牙线， Beam 就判定这类用户不太会面临蛀牙问题，也不需要根管这样昂贵的治疗方式，他们就能以低廉的保费获取牙险。 Beam 表示，公司提供的保费要比市面价格低 10% - 25%，同时，不会与第三方分享这些刷牙数据。
这个产品现在共在美国 16 个州有售，主要客户是中小型企业。目前，已经与 1000 多家中小企业签订协议，为其员工提供牙险及智能牙刷。Beam Dental 计划在年底将业务扩大到 35 个州。
创始人 Alex Frommeyer 表示，与传统健康保险相比，牙科保险在监管上更松，进入空间较大。而多年以来，牙险领域的创新很少，竞争比较同质化，Beam Dental 想以创新的角度获取顾客认同。
据中国保险报报道，美国牙科保险体系较为完善，2011- 2016 年间，美国经济紧缩使得企业无法为职工提供全面的牙险保障，但牙科保险市场每年仍约收入 150 亿美元。截至目前，美国大约有 2 亿人持有牙科保险，其中 1.5 亿人购买的是商业保险。
目前，美国的牙险市场由 Delta Dental，United Healthcare 等保险巨头统治，许多牙科领域的科技公司更关注牙齿矫正，美白等等问题，保险上的涉及较少。
国内，36 氪也关注过一些智能牙刷的创业项目，希澈科技推出了“硬件+APP”的概念，想给牙科诊所和保险公司提供数据，对标的就是当时仅做智能牙刷的 Beam。我们最近接触的是 Oclean，会根据用户口腔状态定义刷牙模式。此外，还有儿童牙刷 sidda、母婴智能硬件商极客宝贝等等产品。但这些硬件上大多停留于此，或是扩展硬件品类，没有像 Beam 这样朝保险转型。
Alex Frommeyer comes from a family of dentists. Now, he has a start-up that sells dental insurance, but with a twist.
The Columbus, Ohio, company, called Beam Dental, started out by selling Bluetooth-connected toothbrushes, meaning that their product communicates with an app.
Once they got people using it, the founders saw an opportunity to use more than a year's worth of data they collected to move into the dental insurance market. The idea is to figure out which of their users are regularly flossing and brushing their teeth, and therefore less likely to run into expensive problems like root canals and cavities, and offer them cheaper rates and other incentives.
That insurance product, which is now available in 16 states, earned the company a fresh round of $22.5 million in financing led by Kleiner Perkins.
That puts the company's total funding at more than $30 million.
Customers who sign up for Beam's plan get shipped a connected toothbrush plus a regular supply of things like floss and replacement heads. Those who opt-in to use the smart brush -- and share that data with the app -- can get a lower rate on their premiums.
The company stresses that it doesn't share the data about its users' brushing parties with third-parties.
For Kleiner, Beam represents an opportunity to crack into a lucrative corner of the medical insurance market. As Frommeyer puts it, dental involves "significantly fewer regulatory and network headwinds," than traditional health insurance.
Lucas Swisher from Kleiner, who's joining the Beam board as part of the investment, estimates that the dental market is worth about $78 billion. The firm believes there's an opportunity for entrepreneurs to differentiate themselves from incumbents by focusing on technology and the consumer experience.
"When I think about places that haven't been touched by technology," adds Noah Knauf, a general partner with the firm, "I think of dental insurance, which is primitive."
The dental insurance market is currently dominated by Delta Dental, United Healthcare and other insurance behemoths. But in recent years, a handful of well-funded technology start-ups have emerged in the space from Beam to SmileDirectClub. Many of these are focused more on cosmetic issues, with 3-D printed aligners to straighten teeth, rather than on insurance, by that might change in the coming years.
Both Kleiner and Beam declined to disclose the company's revenues, or its most recent valuation.
But Frommeyer did say that the insurance product has expanded to more than 1,000 small to medium-sized businesses, giving it a steady supply of revenue. The contracts are typically signed on an annual basis, he said.
By the end of the year, he said, the company hopes to expand to 35 states.
Kleiner's partners intend to remain active in the health-technology space, despite reports that its life sciences partner Beth Seidenberg will step down from her role at the firm to start her own fund.
Knauf has extensive health sector investing experience, and the company also still works closely with veteran health investor Brook Byers, as well technology investor John Doerr, who's increasingly investing in health.