Have you considered a visit to the dentist? Chances are you wouldn’t have, unless you already have a dentist you go to. Otherwise, it’s too much of a task looking for a dentist you can rely on. In such a case, mydentist’s chain of clinics, fronted by a lime-green board in six cities across Gujarat and Maharashtra promises that you will smile more and pay less. When brothers Vikram and Parth Vora started the dental clinics in 2010, they wanted to bring affordable dental care to more people. Three years later, a dental clinic that started off as an opportunity to run
the Kasturba Health Society’s clinic, in Mumbai’s Vile Parle suburb,
has grown to 130 clinics.
Thirty-five-year-old Vikram, who is the CEO of the company (Parth, 32, is the CFO), says that the time spent as a medical representative early in his career gave him an insight into what was lacking in the dental space. “The idea was to make it [dentistry] affordable, and at the same time, not compromise on the quality of service. It’s a place you can go, and your driver can go. Though your driver would not think of going to your personal dentist,” says Pravin Gandhi, an early investor in the company.
Not one for investing in family-run ventures, Gandhi, who is a managing partner at Seedfund Advisors, found the mydentist concept attractive. “The whole notion of dentistry is not known in India. We felt that because the proposed model was capital efficient, more clinics could be rolled out. It could take dentistry to the people,” he says. Seedfund Advisors invested Rs 18 cr in the company, and was joined by Asia Healthcare Fund that put in Rs 40 cr.
Clinics have been set up close to residential areas. Affordable payment mechanisms, either through credit cards or EMIs, are made available to patients. To help with the fear factor, 95 per cent of mydentist’s 400-strong workforce is female. “It just evolved like that,” says Vikram. “They [women] are committed to their jobs, accept new technologies and can unlearn,” he adds. The clinics have senior dentists, but consultants are brought in for more complex procedures.
Each clinic is linked with a cloud-based computer system. This means that a patient can start a treatment at one clinic, say near his home, and continue it at any other clinic near his office as all records are available online. Other advantages that mydentist claims to have over the regular neighbourhood dentist include that the clinics are open throughout the week from 9 am to 9 pm, and doing away with prior appointments. Most importantly, mydentist is far more affordable than your regular dentist. You can get a root canal done for as little as Rs 2500.
Vikram went through a variety of jobs before settling down with the dental venture. He spent some time working for a pharmaceutical company, in Houston, USA, helped ICICI Bank manage their intranet, and was also a medical representative who sold dental equipment to dentists. Parth spent a couple of years at Aptiva Consulting after getting his management degree from ICFAI Business School. Both left their jobs in 2009 to start on their own. According to Gandhi, the brothers work well together. “Though neither of them are dentists, they understand the trade,” he says. The brothers plan to roll out clinics in another 30 cities in Maharashtra and Gujarat in the coming years.