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SouSmile’s cashing in the funding! Are teeth alignment startups about to duke it out in Latam?

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

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Contxto – Brazilian SouSmile has a big reason to smile. Actually, US$10 million-worth of smiles, as it recently raised a Series A round through Global Founders Capital, Canary, and Kaszek Ventures.

The startup offers transparent aligners to help straighten teeth and all without those painful and aesthetically questionable braces.

No doubt the funding is a welcome sight given that the direct to consumer (D2C) startup’s distribution model relies on retailers and physical clinics to work.

The dental startup had previously raised R$20 million (US$4 million) with Kaszek in October of last year. 

Related article: SouSmile joins Kaszek Ventures’ portfolio with investment worth over US$4.8 million

The fight for a perfect smile?

SouSmile isn’t the only startup from the Latam region taking on crooked teeth with these 3D-printed aligners. 

Within its native Brazil it’s facing Smilink, which offers a similar product and bi-monthly consultation service. However, in Smilink’s case, the cost for it varies from customer to customer, depending on the complexity of their case. Meanwhile, SouSmile’s transparent aligner and treatments cost around US$1,000.

What’s more, Barn Investimentos announced earlier this month that it invested an undisclosed amount in Smilink. So it’ll be sticking around despite economic slowdowns too.

Beyond Brazil, is Mexico’s moons that recently graduated from Y Combinator’s accelerator program. It too is working with these aligners and currently has clinics in Mexico and Colombia. 

Perhaps since they’re targeting different markets, SouSmile and moons won’t be rubbing elbows soon. So it only has Smilink to worry about.

Related article: Mexico’s moons will be joining Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 Batch

Brace for change

Last week I had to cancel a dentist’s appointment to tighten my own braces. It wasn’t something I did happily as I’m near the end of my treatment (thank goodness!). But in light of the coronavirus outbreak, it was best to stay home. 

And I suspect SouSmile’s, Smilink’s, and Moons’ own customers will have to do the same at least for the next month or so.

So while these startups seek to add an innovative angle to orthodontics, they aren’t exempt from having their customers show up in-person to a clinic for follow up. But SouSmile’s and Smilink’s recent investment rounds give them some leeway in that sense. 

Moreover, I suspect that any startups that secured funding between January and now have some room to maneuver as a cloud of economic uncertainty looms over all.

Smile and adapt, startups, smile and adapt.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Brazil!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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