makeO acquires Dubai-based health tech startup Smileneo


From left — Dr Jonathan Doerr, founder and CEO, Smileneo, Dr Arpi Mehta, CEO and co-founder, makeO
From left — Dr Jonathan Doerr, founder and CEO, Smileneo, Dr Arpi Mehta, CEO and co-founder, makeO

Published: Wed 15 Mar 2023, 5:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 29 Mar 2023, 2:47 PM

The use of telehealth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and South Asia is surging with consumers and healthcare providers rapidly embracing digital healthcare technologies. In response to the growing tech adoption for orthodontic care, Asia's makeO and MENA's Smileneo, both leading direct-to-consumer teeth-straightening platforms in their respective markets are joining forces. The combined entity will become the largest clinical beauty technology platform across the markets, with the scale to match consumers' demand. The acquisition amount has not been disclosed.

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The deal is a significant milestone for the MENA and India entrepreneurship ecosystems since it is one of the first-ever acquisitions of a GCC venture capital-backed startup by an Indian company. Additionally, the acquisition is one of the first examples of closer startup ecosystem cooperation between the MENA and India catalysed by the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed in February 2022.

Founded by Dr Jonathan Doerr, Smileneo and its orthodontic partners oĊer safe and eĊective doctor prescribed and monitored clear aligners to straighten teeth for beautiful smiles. Launched in 2020, Smileneo has served thousands of patients through a network of more than 30 licensed partner orthodontists in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Smileneo’s adherence with health authorities in the region made it the first and only licensed regional teledentistry platform for direct-to-consumer teeth straightening in the MENA.

makeO, India’s leading clinical beauty technology startup, oĊers consumers access to doctor-backed smile and cosmetic skin therapies in an easy and aĊordable manner. makeO houses toothsi as India’s largest dental aligner brand, which has oĊered clear aligner treatments to more than 200,000 customers at home, in clinics and at experience centres. Being the only consumer-facing USFDA clear aligner platform in India, this acquisition marks makeO’s foray into the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Dr Arpi Mehta, CEO and co-founder, makeO, added: “Having garnered strong market leadership in the Indian self-care industry, this acquisition marks our foray into the MENA region where aesthetic dentistry is seeing massive growth due to new government policies in favour of dental services and consumers’ increased interest in oral health. Smileneo’s high-quality medical and tech-driven approach, as well as its footprint and expertise in the region, will accelerate our growth ambitions and materialise our vision to expand beyond India. With this acquisition, we will not only be able to enter the Middle East, but also have a basis for further expansion to South Asia and Africa.”

Dr Doerr added: “We are very excited to work together with makeO and for this opportunity as both companies share the vision of building a high-quality clinical beauty technology platform. makeO’s vast experience and production capabilities will not only elevate our business and help our partner clinics reach the next level, but also allow us to venture into new areas of telehealth in addition to our established orthodontics practice.”

Dr Pravin Shetty, clinical director and co-founder, makeO explains: "We anticipate that makeO’s clear aligner treatments will be well received by the Middle East is known to have a progressive approach towards self-care procedures. makeO’s state-of-the-art aligner facility infrastructure in Mumbai, paired with Smileneo’s expertise and growing number of partner clinics in the Middle Eastern region, will revolutionise the space of smile makeovers for GCC customers.”

Learn more about Smileneo/makeO:

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