End of an Era: SmileDirectClub Closes After Nearly a Decade in Business


The additive manufacturing sector is no stranger to the ups and downs of market trends, with the life cycles of companies often meeting with premature ends, mergers, takeovers, and more. When even some of the largest and most established companies take part in these proceedings, it is no surprise that 3D printing startups and small enterprises are equally as susceptible to the whims and trends of the market, despite the overall positive trends of the industry.

Such is the case for Nashville-based teledentistry company, SmileDirectClub, which has officially closed its doors after a final attempt by its founders to save the firm from going under ever. A last-ditch effort that was born after the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2023. The dental correction company had established itself internationally, serving millions of clients and trading publically for the past several years. Despite this, however, the company had its share of troubles which contributed to its decline.

Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub was a startup that 3D printed custom, clear teeth aligners for their clients in an alternative approach to tooth-straightening measures such as braces. Marketed as faster and cheaper than prices, their clients were able to take full advantage of the orthodontic process from the comfort of their homes. From the dental consultations to the mail-in creation kit, the entire process was conducted at a distance and 3D printing played a large role in its success and the on-demand production of its alignment kits. Throughout its lifespan, SmileDirectClub was consistently able to wow prospective donors, raising hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and being valued at $8.9 billion at the time when the company went public in 2019.

Despite its financial successes, the company had also found itself in the headlines several times over the years for lawsuits and investigations, including alleged deceptive practices restricting their customers’ right to refund and blocking individuals from writing negative reviews involving SmileDirectClub online. Additional patent disputes, prolonged legal battles with competitors, and slowing sales led to a growing pile of debt which finally became too much in September, when the company declared bankruptcy.

The company’s leaders had difficulty adapting to the changing circumstances, trying to save the company from bankruptcy. However, they couldn’t find any new backers or buyers, and crucially, the company was unable to convince their existing creditors of a possible new solution. On the SmileDirectClub website, the company provided a series of straightforward answers to frequently asked questions and a final statement regarding the closure and immediate cessation of all SmileDirectClub features and support.

The webpage ends with a statement that more information will be provided as the bankruptcy process moves forward and outlines additional measures that customers can take to receive refunds. Their announcement can be accessed HERE.

What do you think about SmileDirectClub’s closure announcement? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

Original source


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