SmileDirect Club: The $8bn braces firm boosted by selfies

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In the age of the selfie, smiles are paramount. Now American company SmileDirectClub has set out to profit.

SmileDirectClub sells mail-order teeth aligners – a type of clear, plastic braces that the firm has turned into an $8bn (£6.5bn) business.

The company, which debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange this week, has served more than 700,000 people since its start in 2014.

Last year, revenue nearly tripled to $423m from about $146m in 2017.

The firm, which boasts partnerships with major chains such as CVS and Well Pharmacy, remains in expansion mode.

It opened its first offices in the UK this summer, following launches in Canada and Australia. More are in the works.

“This is a very large market that we’re going after,” SmileDirectClub chief financial officer Kyle Wailes told the BBC. “We’ve got many, many countries that are on the roadmap for next year and beyond.”

Regulatory risk

SmileDirectClub’s flotation this week raised about $1.3bn (£1bn) after its shares fetched $23-a-piece – above the original target. That deal valued the firm at more than $8bn.

But the price sank sharply as public trading began.

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