Tech Pitch: Toothpick

The founders share their dentist booking platform for consumers and explain why, for them, Tech City lives up to its hype

Company name: Toothpick
Founders: Sandeep Senghera (35), Jozef Wallis (34)
Background: Senghera holds a number of dental qualifications and post-graduate achievements, he built a successful private dental clinic which he later sold to develop Toothpick. Wallis is a 15-year veteran of the web and media industries in the United States and Europe, previously founding a number of media companies and a number of high-profile roles for multinationals Digital Envoy and WeatherBug.
Based in: TechHub, Campus London

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Toothpick allows consumers to book dental appointments online, seeing real-time availability for chosen dentists through live integration with dentists’ calendars
  • Allow consumers to contrast and compare both NHS and private dental care providers using rich profile information for practitioners, reviews and prices
  • Allow dentists an important marketing and acquisition channel through a cost-effective, low maintenance model

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Toothpick was launched in 2013 after the founders conducted a survey in which 450 out of 1,000 dental practices failed to pick up the phone during standard practice opening hours. What’s more, 40% of UK dental practices don’t have a website. These two things make it frustrating for consumers to access up to date information and make an informed choice.

Today over 50 per cent of appointments on Toothpick are booked outside of practice opening hours, and 60 per cent via mobile and tablet. The majority of out of hours’ bookings are for emergency dental treatments; with an estimated saving to the NHS of £1m in avoided A&E admissions.

In addition, research has shown 31% of the UK population has not seen a dentist in the last two years, while there is now clear evidence of the links between poor dental health and serious illness. We aim to do our part to reverse these trends by enabling 30 million people to be only 60 seconds away from securing a dentist booking.

Are you funded?

Toothpick is funded by some of the UK’s leading early stage investors, including Passion Capital, 1 Seed, EC1 Capital and Launcha.

What were you doing before starting?

The founders partnered with the world’s largest provider of practice management software in 2012 to create several dentist-facing booking products. These are now live in Holland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Having built up a critical mass of dental practices in their network, the founders turned their attention to creating a fully consumer-facing booking platform. A beta version of Toothpick went live in November 2012.

What the best thing about where you’re based?

London’s Tech City, for us, actually does live up to the hype. We are surrounded by talented people who are all willing to share advice, resources and contacts they’ve used themselves. It’s rare that we hire a resource or make a purchase without it being recommended by another entrepreneur or investor. It also allows us cost-efficient ways of reaching new audiences as we can cross promote each other’s products via partnerships and social promotion.

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