Zenyum: Smile, Asia!
No one should hide their smile, not if Zenyum can help it!
Dental care in Asia has a tradition of being widespread and practiced by the majority of Asians. Still, few can afford top-notch oral care due to the high prices of dental care. When Julian Artopé came head-to-head with the issue, he couldn’t grasp the fact that dental care in Asia was off-limits to many due to low accessibility and the cost of the procedures.
As a savvy entrepreneur, Julian knew exactly how to start a company that’ll benefit people in the most suitable way. Julian founded Zenyum, a company that delivered invisible braces and a range of oral cosmetic services using cutting-edge 3D technology.
Going through ups and downs to see his vision through, Julian helped bring more smiles to Asia, and Zeynum quickly became a healthcare brand that Asians trusted with their dental care.
Continue reading the inspiring story of Zenyum - a healthcare company that understands the importance of accessible dental care.
From an Ordinary Child to a Knowledge-Hungry Junge
Born in 1985 in Germany, Julian was your typical happy-go-lucky boy or “junge,” as Germans call it. Growing up in the 80s and 90s in Germany meant a lot of fun for Julian since it was a period in time of a lot of technological breakthroughs and novelties.
Julian was always out and about, hanging out with his friends when he wasn’t engrossed in studying, which he loved. As Julian became older, he grew more and more interested in entrepreneurship, mainly because his dad and his three older brothers ran their own companies.
As faith would have it, so will Julian.
Gathering Knowledge from All Over the World
Even though Germany offered many education opportunities for Julian, his adventurous spirit led him across the world to acquire a taste of different educational prospects. After getting his B.Sc. in General Management & Business Law from the European Business School in his native Germany, Julian packed up and went to France and Singapore, enrolling at the INSEAD for an MBA.
You would think Julian has had enough knowledge to call it a day with getting degrees, but no, his ambitions were bigger than that. Young Julian went to South Korea and attended the Yonsei Business School in Seoul.
Quite the world traveler, Julian got a first-hand experience of the different business climates and the most common issues people dealt with in other countries. Thanks to his business-oriented family, Julian was no stranger to starting up businesses and standing behind the steering wheel, leading companies to success.
The Spark That Ignited the Entrepreneurial Fire
Growing up with three older brothers who were also running their own companies, Julian was somewhat bound to dive into entrepreneurship. At first, Julian considered establishing a consulting career, but after talking with his brothers, he chose a different path.
Thanks to his brothers' pep talk, Julian became interested in starting up his own company - something that’ll make his entrepreneurial genius emerge.
While Julian was in Singapore, he noticed how many people were dealing with dental issues and were nowhere near a solution to their problems. In particular, a simple orthodontic solution like braces was not an affordable option for Singaporeans because it was simply too expensive.
Being a braces wearer himself, Julian knew how uncomfortable wearing braces could be, so he wanted to make the experience as pleasurable and affordable as possible.
It was in 2018 when Julian felt confident enough to start up a dental care company that he would name Zenyum. At first, Julian was not entirely sure he could lead the company well since he didn’t have a background in dentistry.
But, knowing what the next step would be, Julian reached out to dentists and presented them with his plans. It wasn’t long after the team of dentists saw the breakthrough Zenyum could achieve and decided to hop on board.
Unveiling the Invisible Smile
Now that the team was complete, Zenyum officially entered the market in Singapore in August of 2018. By October of the same year, Zenyum launched its first-ever invisible line of braces, custom-tailored to suit the specific needs of patients.
What made Zenyum stand out from competitors like Lightforce Orthodontics, Smilelove, and Invisalign, among others, is the fact that Julian’s company utilizes the power of technology to the fullest.
Zenyum is a company that bypassed traditional visits to the dentist's office. The initial step for patients begins with filling in a survey on the company’s website and sending in a photo of their teeth through email or WhatsApp. This particular feature is what made Zenyum the go-to orthodontic brand for the population in Singapore, saving them time, money, and commuting.
The team of dental experts at Zenyum would then examine and assess the images sent in by patients and schedule a consultation at one of the partnering clinics.
As Zenyum’s invisible braces became a hit in no time, Julian felt it would be a good idea to develop a complementary line of dental accessories like toothbrushes, mouthwash, and floss. It proved to be a nice fit in the whole Zenyum story.
Innovations Are Worth Millions
To make sure Zenyum’s journey is all smooth sailing, Julian went through 3 funding rounds, managing to raise a not-so-shabby sum of $55.1M. Their latest funding was raised on May 31, 2021, from a Series B round.
Thanks to the revenue-bolstering business model, according to Julian, Zenyum has done exceptionally well in the past 2 years, currently operating in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with expansion into Taiwan as Zenyum’s latest undertaking.
Due to the visionary plan to minimize unnecessary trips to the dentist’s office for braces fitting, Zenyum managed to attract a total of 11 investors who believed in the idea. Sequoia Capital India and L Catterton Asia are Zenyum’s most recent investors, with L Catterton Asia being the lead investor.
It’s All About the Patients
As a former braces wearer, Julian has experienced the troubles and anxiety of having to visit the dentist 10 times on average. His forward-thinking led Julian to establish a company that’ll focus on the patent rather than on technicalities.
Thanks to the app Zenyum uses, patients can track their progress and even get a medical consultation should they need it. Due to Zenyum’s success, more and more dental experts and clinics are reaching out to Julian for partnership opportunities.
The invisible braces are Zenyum’s number 1 product that sat pretty well with youngsters in Asia that were after a shining set of pearlies.
Besides being patient-centered, Zenyum is also a budget-friendly option for patients since it uses 3D printing technology. It keeps its manufacturing process in Singapore, reducing transportation costs and less CO2 footprint.
Making Asia Smile More
Today, Julian is still the proud Founder and CEO of Zenyum, working on further developing the company and reaching new markets. Currently operating across Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and Malaysia, Julian’s company is dedicated to expanding the brand to more locations.
Headquartered in Singapore today, the Zenyum family has grown to over 240 employees from different areas of expertise, like dentistry, general medicine, digital marketing, graphic design, HR, and so on.
With over hundreds of dentists in Asia working with Zenyum’s invisible braces and oral hygiene products, Julian’s company is in perfect alignment (pun intended) with the customers' individual needs.
Julian is extremely proud of what he has achieved so far, and he doesn’t plan to stop making Asia smile anytime soon!