Nashville-based teledentistry company SmileDirectClub has filed paperwork to go public in what turned out to be a banner year for IPOs in digital health.

In its S-1, the company said it plans to go public on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SDC.” The offering price and number of shares to be offered in their initial public sale have not yet been determined.

The company offers personalized 3-D printed clear aligners – essentially a form of transparent plastic braces – in a direct to consumer model that it touts as cheaper and more convenient than traditional options. Average treatment times for SmileDirectClub customers is six months.

SmileDirectClub, which was started in 2014, has raised nearly $450 million from investors including a $380 million round last year led by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice that valued the company at $3.2 billion.

According to its S-1, the company has had over 700,000 individual customers and more than 300 physical retail locations offering services in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.

Among the company’s stated business advantages are a standard $1,895 pricing for its clear aligners, its mix of teledentistry and retail locations, its ability to sell to consumers who don’t have access to an orthodontist and SmilePay financing option.

SmileDirectClub employers more than 5,000 workers and has a provider network of licensed orthodontists and general dentists in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

Financially the company grew revenues from $146 million to $423.2 million between 2017 and 2018, an increase of 190 percent.

Still, like many of the healthcare technology companies who have gone public this year, SmileDirectClub has seen increasing losses since its founding. From 2017 to 2018 net losses grew from $32.8 million to $74,8 million. For the first half of 2019 alone, the company saw $52.9 million in net losses.

According to its S-1, the company sees continuing opportunities for growth in continuing to expand its services in its existing markets and internationally, as well as broadening its offering of products past clear aligners to develop recurring revenue lines.

One of the company’s potential business risks, as outlined in its SEC filing is the growing backlash to its service from a number of dental and orthodontics groups.

The American Association of Orthodontists has filed complaints with 36 state dental boards, alleging that SmileDirectClub violates regulatory standards by bypassing standard visits and diagnostics to determine whether clear aligners are appropriate to use with patients.

According to the S-1, CEO and Chairman David Katzman, also the founder of investment firm Camelot Venture Group, will hold controlling voting power over the company.

Other large shareholders in the company include co-founders Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell, COO Steven Katzman and the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Photo: jxfzsy, Getty Images



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