Dental coverage is expensive and complicated with long waiting periods, confusing deductibles and copays, minimal coverage for major procedures, and low annual caps—and Americans are feeling the pain.
Roughly $140 billion is spent on dental care each year in the United States. Nearly 30% of the population is uninsured and pays out of pocket, with the remainder paying for high-cost dental insurance that doesn’t cover their needs. Those with dental coverage often wonder if they’d be better off without it, and those without it want to pay less for care. Miles Beckett and Steve Seigel, co-founders of Flossy, understand.
“We want to bring high-quality, affordable dental care to the masses with upfront transparent pricing, no annual fees, no waiting periods, and no deductibles,” Beckett says.
Entrepreneurial Dream Team
Beckett and Seigel are serial entrepreneurs and early-stage technology investors. Beckett is a doctor by training and has been in the technology sector for more than 15 years. This is his third venture-backed company, having exited his previous two. Seigel is a former investment banker and hedge fund professional who has been in the digital health space as an operator and investor for almost a decade. Flossy is their second company together.
They created Flossy as an alternative to dental insurance, offering a simple, pay-as-you-go model that connects consumers to a network of high-quality dentists and discounted prices. Using a mobile app, the Flossy.com website, or a quick phone call to Flossy’s call center, patients can compare prices, find a great dentist, book an appointment, and save up to 50% off their dental care.
“If you run the numbers and are paying for dental insurance yourself, it’s not really worth it,” Beckett says.“If you just get regular cleanings and X-rays, you’re probably overspending on the insurance relative to the value you receive. You’d have been better off paying cash for those services. On the other hand, if you need extensive dental work, dental insurance caps the amount they’ll pay to around a thousand dollars and most major dental work can run from two to 10 thousand or more dollars. In that scenario, the insurance covers a little but you’re still paying a lot out of pocket.”
Considered a dental discount plan from a regulatory standpoint, Flossy is unique as the first pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly or annual fees and no waiting period for care.
“Our curated network of dentists also sets us apart. To be included, dentists must have an average of four stars or higher on Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades,” Seigel says. “In addition to our quality-based selection process, our negotiated rates deliver transparent pricing and discounts.”
Flossy currently operates in Arizona with near-term plans to expand to New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, and, eventually, all 50 states. The co-founders said Flossy saw immediate adoption upon launch. Within minutes of its closed beta launch, Flossy had its first booking for 9 a.m. the following morning.
“Customers love the app,” Seigel says. “We have a 5-star rating in the app store, dozens of positive reviews, and good word-of-mouth. Our NPS (net promoter score) is almost a perfect 10. Dental historically has very low NPS scores, but with our curated network and transparent pricing, both dentists and consumers love us. Our only challenge has been getting the word out, but now that we’ve proven the value of the service, we’re starting to increase our marketing spend to build awareness.”
Proof in the Percentages
Beyond ratings and scores, Flossy uses a variety of metrics to measure its success, including total GMV (gross merchandise value), new patient bookings, organic referrals both from the supply and demand side, and CAC/LTV (customer acquisition cost/lifetime value) ratios. In addition, when a patient gets a treatment plan for future work, they track percentage completion and time to completion.
There’s a lot for dentists to like about Flossy, too. Rather than paying $150 to $250 per new patient from a lead generation service, Flossy sends new patients to participating dentists and specialists for free.
“Working with Flossy has been such a good, easygoing experience,” says Karina Najera, office manager of AZ Lifetime Dentistry. “Our new patient numbers have almost doubled, and patients leave with a smile on their face because of the discount they receive.”
Beckett says another advantage for dentists is cash flow. “For insurance patients, reimbursement typically takes from 30 to 90 days, whereas they get paid almost immediately with Flossy. Over time, we’re looking to integrate patient financing, so that would be another perk.”
In addition to serving self-employed individuals, freelancers, gig economy workers, seniors, and anyone who works for a business that does not offer or cover dental insurance, Flossy helps companies offer yet another option to its contractors or employees.
“For example, we can help companies with lots of gig workers or contractors, such as Uber, DoorDash, or Postmates,” Beckett says. “They may want to provide some sort of a perk or benefit, but they don’t explicitly pay for them. By offering Flossy, they can offer a dental discount plan without having to pay for it.”
Seigel adds, “We would be another alternative option to dental insurance. A lot of the small-business owners that we’ve talked to only offer health insurance, and health insurance doesn’t cover dental. In these places, Flossy would be a great free offer.”
Changes with the Times
Flossy is venture-backed by Slow Ventures, 8VC, TTV Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures, and other broad-based and fintech-focused VCs that back innovative tech companies. The company closed on seed financing when President Trump had just declared a national state of emergency due to the pandemic, causing Beckett and Seigel to switch gears.
“We were originally thinking of ways to make dental insurance better but switched to Flossy’s discount model in light of the number of people who were suddenly unemployed,” Beckett says. “We felt like having some sort of a free, pay-as-you-go type of a plan—though we didn’t know what that would look like—would be really cool.”
“We wanted to bring high-quality, affordable oral health to the masses, specifically the uninsured,” Seigel says. “I think that sometimes this demographic gets overlooked, and this really addresses that gap. From the beginning, we asked, do you change care delivery? Do you create ancillary products like we’ve seen with aligners from SmileDirectClub? Or do you get in to the payment flow and try to bend the cost curve and change the way people pay for oral health? And that’s the core of what we’ve done at Flossy. Technology that inserts us into the transaction allows us to do that.”
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how many people were looking for an alternative and how much people really like using Flossy,” Beckett says. “They tell us how much they love the app for booking appointments, getting affordable and accessible treatments from top-rated dentists the next day, paying for care without the hassles of insurance, and the fact that real people reach out to help. We’ve even had people who ended up using Flossy instead of their insurance because, for that procedure, it was much cheaper to go through us. People are saving thousands of dollars using Flossy.”