Here’s the presentation we’ll be giving this week
And here’s our updated business model canvas:
Another interesting pitch with useful feedback:
Price-points, monetary value:
This was a price-dependent yes to getting the product. The real value add was in patient communication and in getting more time with the patient. Accuracy too got positive feedback. More procedures, not so much.
Our second pitch was with a dentist in Mountain View today. We went in with a fairly sales & product-oriented focus and asserted that we anticipated a product would be ready in 18 months (pending trials etc.) to gauge dentist response.
Our interviewee was an associate dentist (3 years out of dental school) at a somewhat large practice that seemed technologically savvy and interested:
On our value proposition hypotheses of increasing procedures and reducing time:
The dentist really responded to the patient-centered aspects of our value propositions. If this would reduce patient discomfort and increase patient engagement that was a big deal. Also, he really responded to diagnostic accuracy. He was already very convinced that current probing techniques are inaccurate and prone to mismeasurement.
Sale? Alas, he does make purchasing decisions at this office, but brought up the idea of doing trials at his office on his own. He was optimistic (“our senior dentist loves new technology and gadgets”) that they could be early adopters and thought $2000 was a reasonable price (comparing it to similar products like diaganodent and intra-oral cameras). Likely one unit for the whole office, and ideally powered and connected by USB cord to computer.
We began the first of our ‘sales pitches’ this Friday with a local dentist and their hygienist (as we learnt, hygienists are an important part of the periodontal probing process). Our goal was to approach this meeting as an actual sale, and drive to see what it would take to convince them to order our hypothetical product.
Here were some of our key learnings:
Digging into price points and closing a sale: Ideally $2K, no more than $5K. (Comparable products: intra-oral digital cameras — high-res up to $7500.. useful for insurance!)
Overall impressions: They were quite positive but not ready to buy. They need to see and understand the technology and its accuracy and believe we can do what we claim we’ll be able to do. They believe imaging the periodontum would be valuable for accuracy and for patient education/ understanding. Reducing time & Getting more procedures did not resonate with them. Patient-centered ideas like comfort, education and engagement however were exciting to them.
We spoke with the CEO of a company selling a novel technology product in the periodontal diagnostic space.
Their product offers a constant pressure probe (standardizes measurement across users) and automates the data collection into their software. It also audibly reads out the depth and whether the state of disease is moderate/dangerous.
The technology was spun out of UofF into a family owned business 24 years ago. I took note of some insights with respect to selling an advanced probe technology to dentists.
Technology (including another tech in the same space):
ROI to dentist
We tried to do a simulated sale of the device to a dentist in Texas. It was over the phone, so not ideal, but we got some interesting insights. We also got some of his feedback on clinical trials (he formerly consulted for the FDA):
Reactions after I made my pitch ($3000 device cost, $2 consumable cost, 1mm accuracy)
Clinical trials info
We had an interview with a former Stanford Biodesign fellow who had spent time developing two medical devices (one for dentistry) and saw them through the regulatory, clinical testing, and early manufacturing stages. We collected some great insights on these processes and got initial time/cost estimates as well. Some of the key takeaways are below:
1. Dentist are business owners
2. Distribution channels are crucial
3. Do a comparative study for approval — “we are just as good as this device”
4. FDA approval –> know which bucket you fall into:
4.a PMA – pre market approval
4.b. 5-10(k) – to be considered, need to show device is predicated on other preapproved device
Show devices/combo that were approved by 5-10k
Once you know which bucket the study needed depends on risk in terms of what FDA wants
–> # of teeth, or patients, or animals, etc
5. The Study
6. Early Manufacturing (costs, timeline, design); early manufacturing versions of device
Secret Formula — clearly measurable endpoints needed. Malpractice reduction/driving more procedures sometimes hard to measure. Endpoints include time savings, new procedures revenue, passes critical threshold for dentist (min new procedures).
Easily the nicest dental offices we’ve seen so far — 10+ operatories, hardwood floors and the latest equipment. They are clearly doing well!
We interviewed a dentist in Milpitas regarding both our transillumination ideas and our recent push in the periodontal space: