Acquisitions / Business / Health

Toothbrush startup quip acquires its way into the insurance game

With the acquisition of Afora, the Brooklyn toothbrush company reveals its grand ambitions (and a brand-new venture studio).

The electric toothbrushes quip is known for. (Courtesy photo)

In today’s golden age of self care, intricate hair, makeup and skin routines dominate the field for consumers’ extra income, while our teeth are left to the occasional professional check-up.

quip, a name probably most recognizable from its social media–friendly toothbrushes, is embarking on a new phase to change that.

“People are investing time, energy, and money into everything else,” quip CEO Simon Enever told Technical.ly. “From the beginning we wondered why that doesn’t happen in oral care. It’s something you do twice every day and is arguably more important than other areas.”

That’s why quip is acquiring Afora, a membership-based alternative to traditional dental insurance with plans starting at $25 per month that fully cover preventive services like cleanings, exams and X-rays. Afora will join the newly established quip Labs, the company’s venture studio. The acquisition comes as quip brings on a $10-million funding round from Silicon Valley Bank.

As for the pretty toothbrushes, Enever said that was just the beginning to a completely new model of oral care.

“We realized the first step was to create a product you used every day and hopefully get excited about,” he said. “If we could do that we felt confident we could start helping people with the tougher parts.”

Simon Enever, CEO of quip. (Courtesy photo)

Simon Enever, CEO of quip. (Courtesy photo)

Projects within quip Labs will include accelerating early stage companies, consulting pre-launch companies, incubating internal and external projects and supporting dental-student initiatives and scholarships.

“For two and half years, we’ve been very busy building a platform, network and connection between patient and professional,” Enever said. “This is the first public-facing step we’re taking to complement our back-end work.”

Though healthcare innovation is notoriously tricky and often not immediately accessible to most people, Enever said quip’s attention on both oral-care patient and provider puts the company in a position to “bring fundamental changes” to a major healthcare vertical.

Series: Brooklyn

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