Looking for MENA's next Unicorn
Amid a general mood of bearishness given the macro’s in the region, Ubers’ recent acquisition of Careem has given the start-up scene and entrepreneurs in the MENA region a much-needed jolt in the arm and a renewed belief that they are able to scale effectively and attract investors from the region and abroad.
Now that the dust on the deal has settled, investors are once again on the lookout for the next ‘Unicorn’ from the region. After Souq.com and Careem, where will this Unicorn emerge from?
Whisper it quietly, but it may be a start-up that has so far shunned the typical ‘start-up’ spotlight and has instead focused on delivering quality services in MENA and expanding its services to Europe and the United States and comes from, of all things, the dental space.
OneTwoSmile (www.1-2smile.com) is a direct-to-consumer clear aligner company that manufactures and markets aligners that straighten teeth. Similar to companies like Invisalign, eon Aligner and Clear Correct, OneTwoSmile straightens its patients teeth using patented technologies that produce millimeter thing aligners that are worn subsequently until the final ideal shape has been reached. No wires, braces, bleeding gums or tightening sessions. What makes them different? They have managed to deconstruct traditional cost barriers and are able to offer their products at up to 70% less than traditional aligner companies, enabling a much wider segment of the population to straighten their teeth.
The company has launched in the GCC and has recently raised a round led by VC’s out of Europe and the region to launch their products in Europe and the US. Although less than 12 months old, the company has grown to almost 80 staff and has been scaling at a tremendous pace. By 2020 we might have our next Unicorn in the making.