Retail in Asia



Founded in 2018, Zenyum is a Singapore-based start-up that began by matching professional dentists with cutting-edge technology to provide high-quality 3D-printed invisible braces. The DTC brand quickly expanded its product range to toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and more. With an ever-growing reach that currently spans across nine markets in Asia, Zenyum is disrupting the oral care market in Asia. In November 2019, the  DTC brand raised US$13.6 million in a Series A funding round followed by a US$40 million Series B in June 2021. 


Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Julian Artopé, Zenyum Founder and CEO. Together we discussed the DTC brand’s mission and stellar growth, Asia oral care market and Zenyum’s future plans.

Source: Zenyum

RiA: Can you give us a background into your journey before launching your DTC dental brand in 2018 and the reasons behind the launch of Zenyum?

Julian: First of all, I would like to highlight that I’m not a dentist but one of my co-founders is. Over the last 15 years, I have been in everything from social networks to digital payments to content, to classifieds, to price comparison. We combined my experience of building tech companies and his years in Orthodontology to redefine the way we take care of our smiles.

The reason behind the launch of Zenyum was because we wanted to do something that has a visible impact on people’s life. We also wanted to create a visible consumer brand that feels fresh and bold in comparison to what’s out there and to shape a category, which we thought was ripe for innovation. That’s how we came up with the idea to make Zenyum the brand of Smile Cosmetics to help Asia smile more.

RiA: Did you join an incubator / accelerator program before launching your brand and how helpful was it?

Julian: In 2019, Zenyum was part of the inaugural Surge cohort, an accelerator set up by Sequoia India to support early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia. Only 17 companies out of thousands of applicants across SEA and India made it into the first cohort – and Zenyum was one of them.

Through Surge, a team of Asia’s best entrepreneurs and founders mentored Zenyum over the next following months. We have experienced this hands-on and are grateful and humbled by the guidance and network that comes along with this. This was also a moment for us to pause and say thank you to all our local dentists, who have been the best partners a growing company can wish for.

Further strengthening our network of dentists through our new and old connections was one of our primary goals and we were able to execute this faster and even more pronounced with Sequoia’s Surge. It received US$1.5 million in seed money as part of the program.

To date, Zenyum has raised a $40 million Series B from L Catterton, Sequoia India and other investors. This brings Zenyum’s total raised so far to $56 million, including a $13.6 million Series A from RTP Global, Sequoia India, TNB Aura, and Enterprise Singapore’s Seeds Capital, among other investors.

Our funding will be used to power further market expansion as well as extending the current range of products beyond aligners and into retainers, teeth whitening and more – creating a new category, ‘Smile Cosmetics’.

RiA: Zenyum currently operates in nine markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and more recently Japan. How do you explain Zenyum’s instant success in all these markets?

Julian: Since our company was founded in 2018, Zenyum has grown exponentially, seeing a 4x revenue increase in 2020 alone.

Asia’s middle class is rising. In the next six years, 300 million Asians below 35 years of age will have significant disposable income, often for the first time in their lives. But these consumers are different. They don’t want to buy cars or houses. They don’t spend money on kitchens or furniture. Instead, they are investing into shared experiences, connecting with friends, and improvements in their social graph.

With every experience being shared and broadcasted, Generation Instagram cares about their personal brand. They want to be the best version of themselves. It’s about being positive and optimistic, especially in these trying times. One of the most important aspects of that – featured in every selfie – is a beautiful smile.

Source: Zenyum

RiA: Maybe pricing is another reason. How do you keep your costs down compared to your competitors? What’s the difference between Zenyum Invisible Braces and other aligner brands?

Julian: We actually work with dentists who see each customer in person in their practice which determines the success and safety of your invisible braces treatment.

Our locally certified dentists provide the necessary oral consultations with the use of x-rays before the start of the invisible braces treatment. By making this our standard process, not only can our customer avoid risks associated with DIY brands that produce aligners without a dentist consultation, it is to make clear that we don’t take shortcuts, your dental health is important to us so we let the dentists direct your treatment.

At Zenyum, we make a conscious effort to balance affordability and convenience without sacrificing quality and safety. For example, while we minimise dentist visits, we don’t skip them and our customers always go through an in-clinic fitting session with our dentists to learn how to wear and care for their aligners, instead of just receiving it at their doorstep. After that fitting session, they get to bring home all their aligner sets and the remaining of the treatment can be effectively monitored through our proprietary app by our team. We also invest in the app to keep it free to use, and as a tool for our customers to track their progress and stay in touch with us throughout the treatment. Additionally, if the customer would prefer to see the dentist for their review, we can arrange that as well without any additional charge.

We put our priorities in understanding and communicating well with our customers, allocating a dedicated executive for each customer is a cost. We keep our app free to use and we make a point to work with locally qualified dentists, to invest in the well-being of our customers – we want to make them feel safe and yet empowered. So when our customers are getting the care they need and the results they want, our business takes off and so prices can actually be better.

RiA: In addition to invisible braces you also expanded your product range. Can you elaborate on these new products?

Julian: From our perspective, it’s not only about expanding the product range, it is more about a seamless oral care routine. Our award-winning invisible braces treatments give you a smile that you’ll love and our game-changing ZenyumSonic electric toothbrush transforms your boring routine into an enjoyable ritual. Our Sonic brush vibrates at 33K per minute with soft dupont bristles which are so easy on your gums, and comes in five colours which is easy on your eyes. It also comes with an in-built timer for the most optimal brushing time. We have also launched ZenyumFresh – which is a collection of two whitening toothpastes, 1 for day and 1 for night, a mouthwash, and eco-floss, to help our customers improve their oral care habits.

We have also launched ZenyumClear™ Plus, our most advanced solution to treat complex teeth alignment problems. Together with ZenyumClear™ Plus, ZenyumClear™ aligners and ZenyumSonic™ electric toothbrushes all receive best-in-class customer satisfaction scores.

RiA: Where are Zenyum products available?

Julian: Customers can buy ZenyumSonic on our website, as well as third-party platforms like HKTVMall and ESSE, and find us in retail outlets such as Logon and others – we also recently started pop-up experiences on famous shopping streets in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Source: Zenyum

RiA: What’s next for Zenyum?

Julian: Japan, our newest market launched in November 2021 will be our foothold in East Asia. It is our 9th market and we are truly excited to champion affordable smiles with easy access to expert dentists there. We will continue our expansion across Asia, release new Smile Cosmetic products and create the best possible experiences for our customers. We can never lose the focus of what got us here — customers being happy.

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In addition, we have a network of 500+ dentists in Asia and we don’t plan to stop until every household has access to affordable dream smiles by Zenyum. We will also continue to upgrade our tech, services and the app to equip our customers with everything they need for their invisible braces and oral care treatment, right on their fingertips. We have an exciting roadmap for our app as we are adding new convenience features which will be a huge value-add for all our customers, thus giving them more reasons to smile.