AI-powered orthodontics startup InBrace lines up $102M for behind-the-teeth straightening tech

Venture capital megarounds have historically been few and far between in the orthodontic technology space, but if InBrace’s latest financing is any indication, investors may finally be ready to sink their teeth into dental startups.

In a series D funding sure to put a smile on any company’s face, InBrace raked in a total of $102 million. The oversubscribed round was led by Farallon Capital Management and Marshall Wace.

Also joining in the massive financing—which more than doubled InBrace’s lifetime haul, far outshining its last $45 million fundraise—were several new and existing investors, including BlackRock, Endeavour Vision, Vivo Capital, Novo Ventures, venBio and more.

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InBrace’s teeth-straightening technology offers a discreet, low-maintenance alternative to traditional braces and clear aligner trays.

The Smartwire device is personalized to each patient’s teeth and programmed to their alignment needs—as prescribed by their orthodontist—using InBrace’s 3D modeling and artificial intelligence software.

It’s then installed in brackets attached to the back of each tooth. The wire, arranged in a series of loops, applies gentle, continuous force to move the teeth into their prescribed position, relying on a non-sliding, frictionless mechanism InBrace has dubbed Gentleforce.

The Smartwire is designed to work autonomously for several months at a time, removing the need for patients to either visit their orthodontist for monthly check-ins and tightenings or regularly swap out aligner trays. Additionally, because of a wave-like design that avoids positioning the wire directly across the spaces between teeth, wearers can brush and floss normally.

The new funding will help InBrace expand its sales force and marketing initiatives to up usage of the Smartwire by new and existing orthodontic provider clients across the U.S.

“InBrace taps into the recent Zoom culture that has caused a surge of interest among consumers who want to improve their smiles with a more predictable and less disruptive process to their daily lives,” said CEO John Pham, D.D.S. “InBrace is offering an entirely new option for orthodontists to meet the needs of the 178 million consumers who could benefit from orthodontic treatment but who are currently not walking into their practices.”

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InBrace’s behind-the-teeth system offers another option to patients and venture capitalists alike who are looking for an alternative to the now-ubiquitous clear aligner trays originally popularized by Invisalign.

In recent years, direct-to-consumer makers of those trays have claimed the lion’s share of funding to dental startups. The most recognizable of these, SmileDirectClub, raised more than $400 million in the years leading up to its 2019 initial public offering, at which time it was valued at nearly $9 billion.

And just last year, Byte, another consumer-facing seller of clear aligner trays, was sold to dental device maker Dentsply Sirona for just over $1 billion in cash, locking in the deal as the fifth-largest medtech acquisition of 2020.