As planned, connected toothbrush company Beam expands into dental insurance, launches in California

By Aditi Pai
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Louisville, Kentucky-based Beam Technologies has launched SmartPremiums, its dental insurance plan, in California.

Beam first launched a few years ago with a connected toothbrush offering, called Beam Brush, but has since expanded into offering large and small employer dental health insurance plans.

“When Alex Curry, Dan Dykes, and I started beam, we were a hardware team that had an idea to build data services around our connected toothbrush to improve the quality of dental insurance products,” Beam CEO Alex Frommeyer wrote in a blog post. “We knew that the industry was broken because there were over 100 million Americans without dental coverage (still true today). We also knew that the dental benefits industry was doing little to change that, but when people have coverage, they use it. So, the opportunity was clear from the beginning; figure out how to incentivize people to consistently invest in their own dental health, and empower more people to have affordable access to dental professionals.”

Beam aims to emphasize preventive care in their dental plans to help members save money on their premiums. The company still makes the smartphone-connected Beam Brush, but sends them to member for free every quarter, in addition to extra brush heads, toothpaste, and floss, as a perk. Brush data is sent to a companion app and the better members brush, the lower their premiums are. Beam’s companion app also allows members to access a digital insurance card as well as find and rate dentists.

In August 2014, before it moved into insurance, Beam raised $5 million in a round led by Drive Capital, bringing the company’s total funding to around $5.5 million.

In somewhat related news, earlier this month Santa Monica, California-based Brighter raised $21 million for an online dental marketplace. Brighter's site helps users find and compare dentists. The service offers comparisons for out-of-pocket expenses based on the user’s health plan, provider profiles that include background and credentials, reviews from other patients, and appointment scheduling online.