Growth in startups is mostly driven by high cashburn and this is the reason why most growth and late-stage startups need regular visits to their investors themselves. Dental tech startup Toothsi, which has raised over $87 million since inception, is no exception.
The company has managed over 5X growth in its scale and crossed the Rs 78 crore revenue mark in the last fiscal year. However, its losses outpaced the income growth and went past Rs 184 crore.
We will analyze the firm’s expense pattern which led to huge losses in the later part of the story. For now, let’s focus on its revenue.
Toothsi’s scale surged 5.3X to Rs 78.45 crore in FY22 from Rs 14.6 crore in the previous fiscal year (FY21), as per the annual financial statements filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
The Eight Roads Ventures-backed firm is a direct-to-consumer company that sells straightening teeth, mouth guards, brace teeth straight, and teeth alignment brace. The sale of these devices formed 85% of its total operating revenue which spiked 4.8X to Rs 66.68 crore in FY22. Toothsi also delivers skincare solutions at home via Skinnsi which provides laser removal and derma facials. Meanwhile, income from hospital cum healthcare facilities jumped 17.8X to Rs 11.77 crore.
Recently, the company announced the merging of Toothsi and Skinnsi brands to launch makeO.
On the cost front, employee benefit expenses accounted for 27% of the overall expense which surged 4.43X to Rs 72.14 crore in FY22.
Advertisement and promotion costs ballooned 15.7X to Rs 66.97 crore in FY22. This cost may include one-time high cost as the company appointed Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma as its brand ambassadors in September 2022. Therapist and teeth scanning charges for Toothsi shot up 5.6X and 9.3X to Rs 32.02 crore and Rs 20.04 crore respectively in the last fiscal year (FY22).
The company spent Rs 16.46 crore for sourcing aligners which pushed its overall cost by 6X to Rs 263.4 crore in FY22 from Rs 43.8 crore during the previous fiscal year (FY21).
A hockey stick growth in expenses led to a 6.3X surge in its losses which stood at Rs 184.29 crore in FY22. Its ROCE and EBITDA margins registered at -283.86% and -217% in FY22. On a unit level, Toothsi spent Rs 3.36 to earn a single rupee of operating revenue.
The dental care market, with its high markups and size has been an attractive market for startups, with many getting investor backing. That has complicated the road to profitability for most, as they slug it for markets and resources. Toothsi, which started with the high-margin aligners business, has possibly diversified away into skin treatment at home for the same reason. The call to bet a mini-fortune on celebrity endorsements and promotions will also be vindicated, or discarded soon, based on results the firm sees on the ground. But the one big certainty is that the firm’s road to profitability will be paved with many tough calls, lest it find itself stranded just when it finally cracks the magic formula.