SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Brighter.com, the first Internet resource that allows consumers to compare dentists by reputation and by price, launched today. The service makes quality dental care accessible and affordable for the millions of uninsured Americans by giving consumers access to discounted prices that can cut dental bills by as much as 60 percent.
Brighter's pre-negotiated prices on all major dental procedures at 25,000 dentists nationwide (nearly a quarter of all practicing dentists) are 20-60 percent lower than the prices that an uninsured patient would typically pay when visiting their dentist. The site also provides real patient reviews from its members and Yelp – tapping the increasingly influential power of social networks to help identify trusted dentists, enabling patients to select not just the most affordable dentists, but also the dentist that best suits their specific needs.
The site offers the only free discount plan in the industry which entitles members to discounts of 20-30 percent off most common procedures. Brighter's premium discount plan offers the highest level of discounts of up to 60 percent at a cost of less than $7 a month or $79 per year. The premium plan entitles all members of a family to those discounts for that low monthly price. Brighter also offers plans for small businesses that cost less than $49 annually per employee.
"Brighter is an early example of real health care reform where consumers can make direct and informed buying decisions regarding the cost and quality of their care," said Jake Winebaum, founder and chief executive officer, Brighter.com. "With Brighter, we have created a true marketplace for dental care that makes it easy for consumers to find the right dentist at a fair price, and in many cases cut their dental bills in half. As dental costs continue to escalate, and 50 percent of Americans are without dental insurance, there is an urgent need for this service."
Dental care has too often been relegated to low priority status among Americans, mainly due to a significant gap around access to quality care at fair prices. With nearly half the population without dental coverage and dental costs rising faster than inflation for the past 5 years, Americans spent nearly $45 billion out-of-pocket for their dental care without any readily available price transparency. Dental insurance premiums have increased at a higher rate than healthcare, further exacerbating this national dilemma.
Despite the American Dental Association's recommendation that Americans visit the dentist one to two times a year, according to a recent survey run by Prof. David Neal of University of Southern California*, only 1 in 4 without insurance go for the recommended number of visits. Lack of regular preventative care has been linked not only to poor long-term oral health and significant future dental costs, but to major diseases such as heart disease and diabetes which is why the U.S. Surgeon General has called the lack of access to affordable dental care, America's "Silent Epidemic."
"The survey highlights that dramatic disparities in access to quality, affordable dental care persist in the United States today," said Professor David T. Neal, University of Southern California, and lead researcher on the national survey. "Only 1 in 4 Americans without dental insurance reported having preventive care, and 1 in 5 have not been to the dentist in 10 years or more."
The company also announced that it closed Series A funding of $5M, led by Mayfield Fund. Mayfield has invested in a number of highly successful companies including 3PAR (acquired by Hewlett Packard), Compaq, Genentech, Sandisk, Slide (acquired by Google), and privately-held Solarcity, among others.
"Our partnership with Jake illustrates our belief that early-stage venture capital is all about investing in relationships, not just transactions," said Navin Chaddha, managing director, Mayfield Fund. "We have worked closely over the last 18 months from the seed through series A investment phase to iterate business ideas. By investing in a serial entrepreneur of his stature, in Brighter, we are now part of an audacious company that will transform the way consumers access dental care."
For more information on Brighter, please visit www.Brighter.com.
Brighter makes quality dental care affordable to the 50 percent of Americans without dental insurance. Dental costs and dental insurance premiums have risen so fast that the majority of the population cannot afford to go to the dentist for the preventative and restorative care that they need. Brighter.com is the first website that allows consumers to compare dentists by reputation and by price. Patients can see the true cost of dental procedures before they visit the dentist, and with Brighter's network of 25,000 dentists nationwide Brighter members can save 20 percent-60 percent on all their dental procedures.
About Mayfield Fund
Mayfield Fund invests in relationships with entrepreneurs, institutions, and the community to transform bold ideas into industry-leading companies. With $2.7 billion under management, Mayfield invests primarily in early stage U.S. companies in the Enterprise, Consumer, Energytech, Semiconductor and Telecom sectors. The firm fosters global entrepreneurship by investing in India-based companies through its Mayfield India fund and in China-based companies with its partner GSR Ventures. Over its 42 year history, the firm has invested in more than 500 companies resulting in over 100 IPOs and more than 100 mergers or acquisitions. Notable investments include 3PAR (acquired by Hewlett Packard), Compaq, Genentech, Redback Networks, Sandisk, Slide (acquired by Google), TIBCO, and privately-held Solarcity.
*Survey findings in this release is based on research conducted in May 2011 with a representative sample of 1000 American adults. The research was conducted by the international research firm EmpiricaResearch.com.au in conjunction with Dr. David Neal, Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California. Quota sampling and weighting were employed to ensure sample demographics that match the U.S. population defined by the latest Census data.