Looking into the Future with a Technology Investor/Startup Expert

DSOPro talks about new technologies with Dr. Jeremy Krell, managing partner of Revere Partners, which is the first and only independent venture capital fund in oral health.

DSOPro: Please tell us a little about your background.

I’m a general dentist by clinical training and have been so for the better part of the last decade. I have three practices, but I don’t practice dentistry.

I have an MBA and focus totally on the business side. My passion has really been in startups. I spent the last 18 years working in startups. First in tech, then in health tech, now in oral tech. In health tech, I was at Oscar Health Insurance. Oscar IPO’d about one year ago. I headed Strategic Provider Innovations and Development.

Then I went to quip, the subscription electric toothbrush oral health product company. I was the dentist behind quip and scaled up the professional side of the business. We onboarded ~75,000+ dental professionals to the platform.

Then I started my own management consulting firm for oral health startups called the Barchester Bay Group, which is a boutique consulting firm and family office. I have 35 to 40 ventures under management, about a dozen and a half of my own investments. Many of them were telling me about trouble fundraising, so I started my own fund called Revere Partners, which is the first and only independent venture capital (VC) fund in oral health. We’re global and are the only VC fund focused entirely on dental startups. We have more than 300 companies in the pipeline so far. We have invested in 17 companies, and one has been acquired.

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We also offer venture arm, Pilot, TechEval, and People Retention services to the corporate side of dentistry. These services appeal to manufacturers, distributors, insurers, DSOs, consumer packaged goods (CPGs), and dental labs with business development teams that can benefit from some extra horsepower. We, essentially, are their best friend. We help them to source startups, diligence those startups, invest at high agility in those startups, and then support the startups post-investment.


DSOPro: What advancements are you seeing in dental technology?

Technology is getting smarter. Meaning, we’re using things like predictive analytics, computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. The technology is learning, getting better over time from our inputs as humans, and is helping us make better decisions for our patients.

Imaging is also becoming more advanced in terms of visualization. We rely heavily on two-dimensional images, x-rays, in a dental office. But it’s getting more and more three dimensional now. The future is 3D technology. You need to marry thorough analysis and 3D imaging, which has a lot more information in it than 2D imaging. This is smarter, more sophisticated technology. It’s more detailed. That’s a good combination. 

I would say both technology and dentistry are starting to meet consumer demands more. We previously engineered technology to meet dentist demand. Now, we’re realizing that consumers see things in other verticals, and they’re sort of questioning, “Why isn’t this/that here? I should be able to text to pay dentistry just like I can anywhere else.” The profession needs to start to meet consumer demand. 

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DSOPro: What specific technologies are DSOs and group practices interested in?

Well, they’re certainly very interested in technology that brings in new patients. There are a lot of different patient engagement platforms that are integrating more and more seamlessly into their workflow. One example is live chat. I want to specifically point out that I don’t mean a bot and I don’t mean the office staff being responsible for chatting. I mean with a live human being in the United States chatting on behalf of the office on the dentist’s website. They’re multilingual and grabbing people very, very quickly, usually within seven seconds or less, and driving them into the practice’s workflow.

Another example is artificial intelligence (AI) itself on the radiographs because, especially in a DSO where you have providers of different levels of experience and high patient volumes and throughputs in the practice, you really need to make sure that the charts are complete and that nothing is being missed, especially incipient lesions or the earlier lesions that are harder to spot by the eye. That generates more revenue for the office.

There are also products that save the DSO costs. For example, the idea of the digital supply chain. When you order your supplies, it’s something predicting that you need more. When you are servicing your expensive equipment, it’s something telling you whether to replace it or to fix it. Are you able to comparison shop or have any kind of price transparency? These are all being solved by different technology solutions on the cost side.

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DSOPro: Are there any new technologies you are looking at now?

We look at all these sectors but there is one area I haven’t mentioned. I really like the area of smile design. It meets consumer demand because it helps show the patient what their smile will look like once it’s designed. It translates this cryptic thing called the treatment plan, or as patients call it, a bill, into something that is actionable and visual. Some of them can produce the 3D file and allow the doctor to go off and actually start printing, milling, and placing those solutions in the patient’s mouth.

The smile design processes that go from the early stages of selling the patient on what their smile will look like to the middle stages of producing those prosthetics to the end stages of billing or helping the patient through financing those solutions is really important.

I want to emphasize that the dentist is always the driver. I want to be very careful to delineate this from other solutions on the market. Nothing that I’ve mentioned here replaces the role of the dentist. These technologies are analogous to an automatic car versus a manual car. It makes it a lot easier for the operator to drive.


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DSOPro: In your opinion, where is the industry headed and how will it leverage technology in the future?

I think it’s all about access, affordability, and equitable treatment. We have a lot of issues with this in dentistry. People just don’t know how to get started with the dentist, because getting started means going through your insurance, sitting down to a whole appointment (which takes a lot of time), booking out in the future, saving up to spend a bunch of money, and potentially enduring pain.

Revere partnered with CareQuest Innovation Partners and MATTER to create SMILE Health, an accelerator focused on equitable, accessible, and affordable dental care. A cohort of startups will gain access to an ecosystem of impact and scale industry partners to validate and grow their businesses.

People just don’t have a light way to engage, to find out what’s going on and then get deeper into it. I think there are a lot of technologies here, especially if we tap into the financial technology side, that will offer all patients some sort of financing solution, not just patients with a good credit score. There are a number of platforms that help patients to find, book, and pay their doctor. This is the level of accessibility and affordability that I believe will change the future.

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An example of future technology in dentistry is robotics. There is a company now that offers robotic placement of implants in the patient’s mouth and other companies are currently working on robotics that provide other clinical functions.

DSOPro: Let’s discuss new technologies you are funding

We fund a wide variety of different technologies from those that, for example, offer a 360-degree platform to bring sleep dentistry as a solution into your practice—helping dentists to educate patients, providing support throughout the process, such as with the devices, the medical billing, and all the way through to different specialty care. For example, orthodontic platforms that offer proprietary materials and sophisticated software stacks to help dentists with a variety of different experience levels plan even complex treatments.

DSOPro: Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would encourage DSOs to consider the world of oral health innovations (not just the practices themselves) as an investment and partnership opportunity. I would emphasize the ability to have a venture arm as a service to your DSO. As many of them look to invest, even if they don’t invest, we help them to source new technologies and partner with them if they can pilot those technologies. They’re curated by Revere Partners. We help to retain people by building in oral tech investment incentives.

DSOs want to be very, very efficient. They want to differentiate themselves from others. And they run more like a business than a typical practice. For those reasons, they are good technology adopters. What’s challenging for them is the implementation because they’re large structures. That’s where we work with startups, too, on the implementation side.


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About the Author

Jeremy is a general dentist with a combined business background. He is the Managing Partner of Revere Partners, the first independent Venture Capital fund focused on oral health. Jeremy previously built out the Barchester Bay Group, a portfolio consisting of over 35 ventures. Jeremy has held key operator roles at startups including Head of Marketing and Chief Dental Officer at Simplifeye (which raised $27m Series A in 2021), based in NYC, and the Chief Marketing Officer of Verena Solutions, based in Chicago. He oversaw provider and clinical growth initiatives at quip (which raised $100m Series B in 2021), the oral health and subscription electric toothbrush company and strategic provider innovation and development at Oscar Health (which had an IPO in 2021). 

Jeremy has practiced general dentistry part-time for nearly a decade following his DMD at Tufts, sits on the Boards of healthcare and dental startups, and is an angel investor in approximately 30 companies. Jeremy has an 18+ year proven track record with startups through several successful multi-million dollar fundraises and acquisitions. 

Jeremy started his career with three web and graphic design startups and moved into a luxury goods and commodity venture, DormAid, for college students. He later founded a venture incubator, CEO in A Box, following his MBA at Chicago Booth.

Jeremy received The President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joe Biden, Crain’s Notable in Health Care, Top 100 Healthcare Visionaries award from IFAH USA, Top 100 Doctors from the Global Summits Institute for his commitment to oral health innovation, and 40 under 40 from Incisal Edge. 

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