What do you currently do?
I lead a great team who are disrupting the £6bn dental industry in the UK.
Toothpick is an online, real-time booking platform for dental appointments. Patients go to Toothpick.com and browse, compare and rate dental service providers, and book straight into the dentist’s calendar over a real-time connection. Toothpick has already helped over a million people find dentist appointments, and in the process helped participating dentists fill their calendars to the tune of £17M. In this way Toothpick takes the proven marketplace model, pioneered by companies such as OpenTable and Tripadvisor, and applies it to healthcare. This type of technology creates market efficiency, and we estimate that we have already saved the NHS around £1M in avoided A&E treatments, by creating the facility for people to find short-term emergency appointments with dentists.
What is your inspiration in the business?
I realised as a young dentist that dentistry was not a consumer friendly business. I wanted to change that, and enable the 25 million Brits who haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years to be 60 seconds away from booking an appointment.
Who do you admire?
I admire game changers – people that have taken a big risk to change the world in a positive way forever, no matter how big or small. Founder’s like Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb have completely changed the way we move around by successfully challenging massive industries. That takes guts, perseverance, foresight and belief.
Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
Definitely. Operating a startup doesn’t come with a script. Scaling a business takes time, and artificially accelerating it can sometimes be counter productive. We have been lucky to have access to mentors with solid experience of growing very successful businesses. In many instances the same execution is needed regardless of the business model and we have definitely learnt to take advice and pace ourselves whilst keeping our core objectives and personal business vision front of mind.
What defines your way of doing business?
We have reached a market leading position by truly believing in what we do, and by listening intently to our customers. Professional industries need professional suppliers who understand their market very well. Keeping that core ethos, whilst at the same time disrupting the industry is sometimes difficult to balance but it’s the only way forward.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Stop thinking about it and start doing it – it’s better to risk something you believe in, when you are in a position to do so, rather than spending your life wondering what would have happened if you had taken the leap.