Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist. I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working on making the world a better place. Today’s guest is Yashar Faranjani, the co-founder and CEO of Smiletronix, Inc.
Spiffy: Hi Yashar, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Smiletronix, Inc addressing?
Yashar: Glad to be here, Spiffy! Dental diseases are among the top untreated chronic diseases globally, Tooth decay is first and gum disease is sixth. There is a lack of access to care in all countries, developing and developed. Yet most of these issues are preventable. We at Smiletronix, Inc are developing an easy and scalable solution to improve tele-dentistry and automate some of it using machine learning, so patients can regularly check themselves, get personalized feedback to prevent issues, and take action early when problems occur. This will reduce the cost of care, and the burden on care providers.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Yashar: I've always been entrepreneurial and motivated to never accept the existing paradigm. Always striving to improve. In addition to this, having been part of my Business Schools Impact investment fund, I am an advocate of having an impact. With Smiletronix, I not only satisfy my entrepreneurial spirit, but also my true north of having an impact in whatever one chooses to do.
Spiffy: You are working towards UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being. Can you elaborate on the same?
Yashar: We are democratizing healthcare and providing a vital service. Everyone has a mouth and the UN classifies good oral health as a human right. A smile is often the first thing that is noticed by someone, and healthy teeth have been proven to impact employment, nutrition, and quality of life. We strive to bring this to the world by bringing a product that has an impact and improves accessibility.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent company milestone or initiative and the impact that it has on your community.
Yashar: We recently launched the light version of our product (app-only). We also launched a marketing campaign and have reached 2.5k downloads in the month of April alone with a very modest budget, that's ten times more compared to our month on month growth. We are targeting the US as well as other countries where the demand for easy, remote, and automated dental care is growing. This app-only product is freemium and allows users to get a free hygiene check and recommendations to improve their hygiene score.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Yashar: During the pandemic, like most organizations, we came under intense pressure. Our funding round collapsed at the beginning of it, and as a start-up with no product or revenue we didn't have many options. Our team disbanded. Yet we had a product in development that was in demand. The dental market suffered due to the lack of visits, and professionals began coming to us asking to help in remote dental care. This inspired me to keep pushing to find a way to revive Smiletronix. In the winter of 2020, we managed to bring a strategic onboard which kickstarted our revival. Despite losing the team, including a co-founder, I learnt not to give up and see when the cup is half full.
Spiffy: Wow, that’s quite the journey already, I wish you the best moving forward! Thanks for speaking with me today, Yashar—it’s been an honor!
An innovator and futurist, Yashar Faranjani is always coming up with new ways to solve problems. When he is not stretching his mind for Smiletronix, Inc, he is stretching his body and soul by practicing yoga at the beach. As a big foodie, an amateur chef, and a BBQ master, he’ll never let you go hungry. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 5, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.