CareQuest Innovation Partners, a company focused on validating and scaling solutions that improve oral health, in partnership with MATTER, a healthcare incubator and innovation hub, have selected the inaugural cohort of early-stage startups to participate in SMILE Health, an accelerator for solutions that make oral health more accessible, equitable, and integrated with overall health. SleepArchitects, Newport Beach, Calif, was picked as one of the five participating startups.

Through its first global call, SMILE Health received more than 100 applications from startup companies spanning 11 countries and 28 US states. Ten applicants with the most promising early-stage solutions for simple, minimally invasive, integrated, low-barrier, and equitable oral health care were invited to interview and, after careful consideration, the first SMILE Health cohort of five startup companies was selected. The cohort teams embody the overall program’s goals for equity and integration: 80% of the cohort have female leadership, all teams are comprised of diverse stakeholders, and 20% of the solutions come from outside the dental industry.

Each SMILE Health startup will have direct access to mentors, a curriculum on scaling solutions, and access to data and clinical validation studies designed to anticipate barriers to adoption and ready solutions for scale. Additionally, each startup will receive a $10,000 stipend and be matched with Impact and Scale Partners during an intensive 12-week process. 

SMILE Health startups will pressure test their solutions through validation studies with Impact Partners such as, Cigna, Colgate-Palmolive Company, MouthWatch, and more. Validated solutions meeting certain investment criteria of Scale Partners will have the opportunity to access more than $1.3 million in available capital from Scale Partners, including Revere Partners, Demos Capital, and Seae Ventures, to accelerate go-to-market strategies, and scale solutions.

The program culminates in a demo day for potential investors and customers in mid-September.

The inaugural startup cohort is as follows.

SleepArchitects is democratizing access to obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment for dental professionals and consumers using a simple, convenient, turnkey digital experience. They offer automated text communication, fun patient education videos, full-service MD-guided home sleep testing, and highly trained dentists using oral appliance therapy supported by experts, making for happy and healthy patients and doctors.

Denture Care Shop is disrupting a long overlooked and underserved segment of dentistry — dentures. Leveraging digital and 3D technology along with their proprietary telehealth platform, they aim to close a large accessibility gap and oral health crisis by offering a better, quicker, and more affordable service.

OrisDX provides patients better clarity on their health through novel saliva-based diagnostics to identify pre-cancer and cancer. Based on innovative research from the University of Chicago, their first product detects oral cavity cancer through non-invasive genetic testing of patients’ saliva.

A research team out of Sir John Walsh Research Institute, Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Otago develops innovative dental products that will transform the international dental products market. Currently, they’re developing a novel, tooth-colored, preformed tooth crown for treating decayed teeth in children using the minimally invasive Hall Technique. They are academic researchers with extensive experience in dental biomaterials development, dental crown design, mechanical testing and clinical trials, working in collaboration with a polymer manufacturing company in New Zealand.

Wide Awake VR’s WAVR is a better and safer way for people to experience medical procedures without the need for sedatives. When patients use virtual reality (VR) to mitigate against anxiety, providers can use immersive media content instead of narcotics in the comfort and safety of their offices.

Illustration 92126773 © Olivier Le Moal |