KLAR is the ‘Invisalign of Indonesia,’ but cheaper
Published on November 22, 2022
KLAR Smile, an oral wellness startup, is quickly making a name for itself as the ‘Invisalign of Indonesia.’ Helmed by Ellen Pranata, co-founder and CEO, the company manufactures customized clear dental aligners, has partnered with more than 1,000 dentists in Indonesia and cuts down on the frequency of dental visits with remote treatment monitoring via mobile.
In its first year of operations, KLAR has already gained a presence in over 800 dental clinics throughout the island nation. Orthodontists at KLAR design treatment plans and manufacture aligners in-house to meet the needs of individual patients.
The startup recently raised US$4.5 million in a round co-led by AC Ventures (ACV). Meanwhile, in official support for gender equality in the workplace, ACV has formally committed to the International Finance Corporation’s Invest2Equal program, as well as the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles and its Principles for Responsible Investment.
In a recent podcast as part of a series of interviews with female entrepreneurs, Ellen spoke with ACV’s managing partner Helen Wong. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
Inventing Invisalign, for less
The transcript below has been condensed and edited for focus and clarity.
Helen: How did you and the other co-founders come to launch KLAR as a dental wellness startup?
Ellen: We brainstormed the ways to achieve the best solution for Indonesians who want a great smile. Even aside from aesthetics, a healthy mouth is very important in managing general health care. If you don’t have perfectly aligned teeth, you are more prone to cavities because it is harder to clean properly. Not many people realize that this can lead to diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
More than 40% of Indonesians and more than 80% of Indonesian children have cavities. This situation is worsened by the fact that we only have around 37,000 dentists in total across Indonesia.
Data shows that four out of five Indonesians have issues of malocclusion. So this means 80% of the population has a need for costly metal braces or some other alignment technology.
Helen: Tell us a little bit about your business model. How would I, as a patient, experience KLAR? How is KLAR different from the competition?
Ellen: The single biggest differentiator between KLAR and Invisalign, which is also available in Indonesia, is price. Invisalign is a wonderful product and we are big fans of theirs. That said, KLAR’s products are of equal quality but at a fraction of the cost. Further, our customer journey is superior because we offer online consultation and monitoring, thus reducing the customer’s total number of in-person trips to the dentist.
We provide an end-to-end solution for the patient. You first download our app and do a ‘smile check.’ If you seem like a good candidate for dental aligners, you can then book an appointment with one of our partner dentists.
From the very beginning, we involve dentists in the patient journey. We don’t just say ‘yes’ to all cases. We want to make sure that a dentist is working with you on your treatment plan before you even decide to go with KLAR. If you become a patient, in between dental visits, you can use the app to ‘upload your smile’ for remote treatment monitoring.
Helen: As a female founder, what’s your take on women in entrepreneurship? Are there any unique advantages that a female mindset has over a more masculine mindset?
Ellen: KLAR is lucky in that three of our six co-founders are females. Also, our employee ratio is now at 60% female. This can have a huge positive impact on organizational collaboration as well as communication at a startup.
From what I’m seeing, the young females at KLAR are emerging as strong leaders. They are prepared to go a long way to support their teams and they actually advance diversity and inclusion. They check on the junior members and are willing to go to management proactively to ensure that workloads are manageable.
They look for and pinpoint ways that will result in more effective processes, and are very open in how they communicate. This creates a more cohesive team. It has also boosted employee morale and trust, which are very important as we keep growing the company.