Smilesmith Dental Services
Smilesmith is an innovative marketplace platform that brings together dentists and dental supply dealers to form a seamless supply chain. The team aims to promote greater profitability, efficiency, and ease of conducting business through their platform. By streamlining the processes of procurement of dental supplies, dentists will then be able to focus on what they do best - taking care of their patients.
How It All Started
The Smilesmith journey started back in 2012, when Founder and CEO Sanjay Mehta’s brother-in-law, who is an orthodontist, went to him with a problem. He was facing difficulty procuring affordable latex gloves. Sanjay eventually managed to help source for the gloves from Malaysia, and was immediately curious about the processes dentists undertake in obtaining supplies. Sanjay then found out that 99% of the supplies were procured the old fashioned way – checking from one dealer to the next for availability. Sanjay saw the need to come up with a solution that would better serve the oft-neglected industry.
Smilesmith & NTUitive
Sanjay was then introduced to NTUitive through a personal contact and was given the opportunity to pitch the idea for Smilesmith to NTUitive’s Enterprise Development team. After just 15 minutes, the team was sold on the idea and agreed to support the business plan. To proceed, Smilesmith would need a CTO, and NTUitive had just the candidate for that role.
NTU alumnus Thenmugilan (Mugi) Gandhy (Class of 2016, Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP)) was introduced to NTUitive through the entrepreneurship classes he attended as part of the course curriculum. He also met up with Frankie Lee from the Enterprise Development team frequently to discuss his future plans. Mugi had initially wanted to pursue a PhD, but has since switched course to join Smilesmith to experience working in a start-up.
“I did not want to spend 4 years of my time just sitting in the lab. I wanted to head out and do something, maybe change the world?” Mugi said, with a hopeful smile.
“It’s rare to find people such as Mugi who know exactly what they want to do in life. We are thankful to NTUitive for linking us up,” Sanjay chimed in.
The Smilesmith team currently operates from their desks at NTUitive’s co-working space at Blk 79, within JTC LaunchPad @ one-north. Despite being able to lease their own office space, they still chose to be based at Blk 79 to be part of the bustling atmosphere alongside other start-ups and to have access to mentors. They can also make use of facilities such as the meeting rooms and pantry, and receive news and updates first-hand from NTUitive.
There have been challenges along the way. With Smilesmith trying to disrupt the old way of doing business, it usually takes potential customers some time to adopt anything new. The team also found that it is not easy to get people with the right mentality to join the team, and also to secure investors’ funding.
“We want people to join us for the vision – to do something different, and to be proud of what can be achieved. As for investors, we hope to get partners who support our mission of helping people in real world, day-to-day situations,” Sanjay commented.
Smilesmith is looking to expand to India next, followed by Southeast Asia’s larger markets such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The team is also hard at work in developing parallel parts of the ecosystem, creating a one-stop shop for the community in the fields of online education (both initial and continuing), sharing of best practices, digital video library of latest medical procedures, and professional interaction via seminars and exhibitions.
In closing the interview, the team has this to say to dentists out there:
“We are really your integral partner in your business, and we want it to succeed. You are first and foremost a doctor and you should focus on what you’re really good at, and let us help you drive everything else.”
Visit www.smilesmith.dental for more information.