Russian bite: as a former banker earns in foreign dentists

Businessman Vladimir Lutsenko

The smile of the banker

“I believe that banking high-tech, because the IT system the bankers are spending huge budgets, says ex-banker Vladimir Lutsenko. But when I saw that in the production of aligners, onlays for teeth that uses three-dimensional scanners and printers, I was just amazed at the adaptability of the process. It’s not so much medicine, how much mathematics”.

Vladimir Lutsenko for more than 15 years worked in the Russian banks — Avtobank, SDM-Bank, was promoted to the position of Chairman of the Board of Bank “Capital-Moscow”. This credit institution bought the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation and turned into a captive Bank. Vladimir took the position of chief operating officer, but soon decided to leave. The banker was a “plan B”.

Mother-in-law of Vladimir Lutsenko, Valentina Bychkova, owns the company-distributor of braces “Dentalplans-M”. Sometimes Lutsenko went on medical exhibitions and conferences abroad — looking for niches creating your own business. “In 2011 at the International Dental Show in Germany, I first saw the tray of Invisalign and it has changed my consciousness,” says Lutsenko. Most of the banker was surprised that anyone can “simulate” your own smile on a computer screen.

The most known techniques for straightening teeth involves the installation of metal or ceramic brackets. But is now gaining popularity around the world trays (aligners) are not as noticeable in the mouth and they can be removed during meals. The tray to print on a 3D printer individually for each client.

The entrepreneur tried to become a distributor of the American Corporation Align Technology (Invisalign owns the brand) — the world market leader of innovative linings to the teeth. He went along with Valentina Bychkova in the European office in Italy, has studied the production, but the competition for the right to sell the tray lost. An Invisalign representative in Russia was the Moscow company “Ortoteh”.

“I was so bothered by this — we’ve spent so much effort, time and money, and they chose a company that had much less experience in orthodontics”, — says Vladimir Lutsenko. And the banker decided that I would be able to organize such production independently. Especially in Russia, Align Technology did not patent his invention. Company representatives did not respond to a request RBC.

In 2012 Vladimir Lutsenko and Valentina Bychkova established the company “Old Smile” and bought the first 3D printer for $120 million Financed the project from their own savings — 67% of shares of OOO was Lutsenko, 33% Bychkova. “Money amassed while working in the banks — says Lutsenko. The first year of the funded project together, then the profits and the remnants of my savings”.

3D printers and 3D scanners can be purchased on the open market, but to release the individual Kappa, you need more special software. Lutsenko hired a friend of a programmer Nicholas lypyna. He gathered a team of three people, including the developer who specializiruetsya 3D modeling.

The team was in need of an experienced doctor is an “Old Smile” began to help Denis Kuznetsov, a leading orthodontist clinic “President” (he got 1% of the company), as well as two dental appliances which Lutsenko paid for refresher courses. Developers have access to the practice of Dr. Kuznetsova and collected data on dozens of patients. “We worked a lot with data expected by the algorithm, calculated the trajectory related to biomechanics,” explains the entrepreneur.

The first version of the program where you can begin to model the tray was ready seven months later. During this time, Lutsenko together with Bychkova is a small clinic on two studies “Prepatent”, invested about 8 million rubles. It was an experimental platform with real patients, the programmers changed the algorithms analyzing the data of orthodontists.

Patients explained that the technology is fulfilled, and Kuznetsov gave a guarantee of correcting the bite. If the experimental Burr of the patient will go something wrong, he will put regular braces without surcharges. Given that the cost of treatment was almost 100 thousand rubles. cheaper than Burr with Invisalign, many people agreed.

Businessman Vladimir Lutsenko
Photo: Vladislav Shatilo/RBC


Businessman Vladimir Lutsenko Photo: Vladislav Shatilo/RBC

Expensive and unprofitable

Production runs of cap: the doctor in the clinic takes casts of patient’s jaws and sends them to the manufacturer of The cap using a 3D scanner obtains a digital model of the teeth. Calculated their trajectory and determined the number of required models aligners from five to 50. The more complex the case, the more aligners you need. In each model of the plate is slightly shifted, correcting the bite, wear of the model, for two weeks. Due to this, the occlusion is gradually corrected.

Aligners printed on a 3D printer. The cost of consumables is low — about 30% of the price for the customer, the most expensive part — the work of programmers. Plus, of course, himself a 3D printer. Owned or leased, it is an expensive tool. Just to start a business for the production of cap (equipment, PAYROLL, investments in R&D) needed $500 thousand.

Run technology in a private clinic, Lutsenko started to offer the aligners orthodontists other dental practices. He hired a sales staff to call shaped support.

“My partner Valentina Bychkova for 16 years worked in this market, it knew almost everything. We came not “to cold” as a new company, and said that, well, you work with us, buy braces, and we have an innovative product, let’s try,” — said Lutsenko.

But a quick start could not take. The revenue of the project, according to SPARK, in 2012, amounted to 7.1 mln., profit of 289 thousand rubles. In 2013, the project has brought to RUB 9.9 million turnover with losses of 2.4 million rubles — the company actively purchased new equipment.

The main drawback of the cap — price. If the treatment with metal braces in Moscow costs about 150 thousand rubles. (payment in both jaws), capaj “Smile” — 230-240 thousand RUB, capaj from Invisalign — 300-350 thousand rubles. “Existing courses of treatment of malocclusion by aligners unnecessarily expensive for customers, many people are not available, in spite of all its advantages. But the development of 3D technology will significantly reduce costs”, — says Roman Gorenkov analyst “Fintehinform”.

“This is definitely the future of orthodontics — I agree Julia Baidullaeva, doctor network of clinics “Ortodont-center.” But while an important stop-factor is to use the cap price. Shipping from USA precision cap from Invisalign expensive and for the money, and time, and the Russian analogues are often inferior in quality”.

In network “Orthodontist-center” consists of six clinics in Moscow, and Burr “Old Smiley” works only one specialist.

Lutsenko admits that the quality of the first samples much inferior to the foreign analogues.

Another problem is the experiments with Burr unprofitable doctors. Earnings of doctors generated from the difference between the cost of treatment for the patient and cost of the system for the clinic. The cost of braces starts from 30 thousand rubles, and the cap from 100 thousand “When the orthodontist makes braces, he makes more,” explains Lutsenko. Installing the cap requires no special skills, this is an automated process. Training the treatment of capaj lasts only one day, and work with any dentist, and the installation of braces takes a long time to learn. “Among orthodontists is a kind of professional pride, it is important to hone skills. For example, the ability to glue lingual braces on the back side of the teeth is considered aerobatics, in the case of Burr keeps the computer and makes a 3D printer”, says medical specialist in 3D printing, who wished to remain anonymous.

To convince experts in the prospects of technology, Lutsenko began to teach them, for example, attend a free course to operate domestic Burr may all who have studied this have Invisalign or assumes the obligation to purchase a mouth guard. Now it has trained more than thousands of professionals, 250 to 300 doctors in the country work with Burr “Old Smiley” all the time. They are the main sales, buyers from the company website at times less.

“These aligners I have corrected the teeth of 30 patients, 20 in the treatment process — speaks about the “Old Smile” orthodontist in private practice Tatiana Gevorgyan. — Their main advantage — the price and speed of production, although the benchmark remains the aligners Invisalign — after all they are the pioneers of the industry.”

The income of the “Old Smiley” jumped after the growth of the currency in 2014 — in 2015, the company received RUB 26.3 million of revenue and 1.2 million profit. The average now a month has approximately 60 treatments in the amount of RUB 4.5 million Business margin — the profit margin is about 60%, but most of the money spent on the purchase of new equipment and development. The company now has three industrial three-dimensional printer and three small table.

The company introduced the first domestic competitors — today in Russia there are already more than five producers of the cap. the Representative of one of them, the company “3D Smile”, Ludmila Yushkova argues that in Russia the tray is only 3% of the market of treatment of orthodontic cases, it is only 5% of the market volume in monetary terms. Realizing that the most advanced Russian market of large-scale business will not create, Lutsenko decided to go beyond Russia.

Photo: Vladislav Shatilo/RBC


Photo: Vladislav Shatilo/RBC

$9 billion — the global market for treatment of defects of the bite, according to the Align Technology (the Invisalign brand)

$19.6 million — volume of the Russian market

$3-4 thousand is the average cost of treatment in the United States on the braces

$4-5 thousand price of the treatment the aligners

30% of the world market treatment of defects of the bite is Align Technology Inc., and 90% of the market of treatment with aligners

The European approach

Once on one of the foreign medical exhibitions Lutsenko met with NIR Danai, who at the time worked in the company OrthoCad and has been engaged in 3D computer positioning of the braces — this technology allows you to adjust the braces one by one, as is usual, and print the whole set on a three-dimensional printer. In 2011, Align Technology acquired the business OrthoCad and direction of the 3D positioning of the braces closed Corporation specializiruetsya in the manufacture of the cap, and this niche seemed to her too narrow.

In 2013, Danae, knowing that Lutsenko began to compete with the American giant on the market, offered together to develop the 3D-positioning of braces in Europe. In 2014, they have registered the company Exceed in Estonia, and the Russian programmers wrote software for a 3D positioning: technologies of modeling of cap and braces similar, use the same printers.

The idea was that the clinic will purchase printers and consumables, and computer calculations to give Lutsenko and Danae outsourced service costs an average of $150.

The first client was the Dutch laboratory OrthoFlex, specializing in the production of plates for correction of teeth in children. She bought a 3D printer, consumables, recommended Lutsenko, and began to use his software. Turnkey project company at a cost of $7 thousand

In 2015, orthodontic exhibition in the United States Lutsenko met Dr. Dirk van Laer, who owns two clinics in Germany and one in the Netherlands. The doctor was inspired to print the braces, and the calculations to outsource and even bought an expensive 3D printer ProJet from 3D Sysems for $120 thousand

Now Exceed Lutsenko and Danae performs about 150 orders on 3D-positioning of the braces in a month and is cooperating with seven European clinics. All in all, from March 2014 to August 2016 Exceed revenues amounted to €406 thousand

However, Lutsenko service 3D positioning of the braces have always been an experiment, he wanted to study the market, to sell abroad their software for the simulation of the cap Situation this has. “Worldwide, the aligners are more and more replacing the braces. For example, in America, almost 70% of patients choose a mouth guard, — said Lutsenko. Parallel cheaper equipment. If our first printer was $120 thousand, today there are models that provide the necessary quality, for $5 thousand”.

“The project appeared on the market at the right time: Invisalign, the largest player in the market for aligners, in many countries over patents. In fact, the Russian company can turn multi-million dollar industry of orthodontics allowing the clinics to clean the tray and not depend on a monopoly of the market,” says Maya Malenko, analyst VentureClub.

Send printed in Russia Capa abroad is expensive and time consuming, so the market cap Exceed works in the same way as the 3D positioning of the braces. Buying a equipment, the clinic can independently produce mouth guards that will cost around $312 for a set vs $1350 if buying the tray from the vendor. And the necessary calculations produces Russian laboratory for a fee of $160. “The payments carried out through the Estonian legal entity, as no one wants to work with Russian companies,” — said Lutsenko.

While on this service, only signed up for two clinics — one German, belonging to Dirk van Laere, and one American. So money direction while it brings little: from €225 thousand annual earnings Exceed the share of services accounts for less than €3 thousand.

The basic rate Lutsenko does on the United States: estimates of Align Technology, 47% of the world market of orthodontics is in North America. Employs 50 thousand and 15 thousand clinics orthodontists. “To sell such a complex product from Russia hard, because in our business you need to show by examples, to explain, and trips require a high cost,” — said Lutsenko. He is going to open US office and a network of sales representatives.