Melbourne oral hygiene startup Pearlii has raised $1.5 million in a fresh round to bring free dental check-ups to regional Australians.
The round came from BRC Capital and follows a previous $1.25 million investment from Indigenous Capital Limited and Justin Liberman in November 2020.
Pearlii’s app uses artificial intelligence to scans selfie photos of a user’s teeth to check for common problems such as decay and gum disease, with the app generating free oral health advice based on the findings. It’s free to use and takes
Founder and CEO, Dr Kyle Turner, a Wiradjuri man from central NSW, was inspired to develop Pearlii in 2019 following his own difficulties as a child.
“I have awful teeth. I grew up in a poor family in a rural part of Australia, where access to dental services was almost non-existent,” he said.
“But now as an adult, and an epidemiologist, I learned that almost all dental problems are preventable with regular check-ups and very basic health education. I now have excellent oral health behaviours, but unfortunately a lot of damage has already been done. But I built Pearlii to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”
Dr Turner said that Australia, the three biggest barriers to seeing a dentist are cost, time, and your location; 65% of Australians have not visited a dentist in the last two years.
“It is a major public health problem,” he said.
In the 18 months since Pearlii’s previous raise, he has been busy building out the non-profit organisation’s business model. It includes fleet of Pearlii Dental Trucks, which will provide free dental care to the homeless, First Nation communities, and refugee groups.
Dr Turner said the combination of free dental check-ups using world-first AI, free oral health education, and free dental care is all tied to Pearlii’s mission to improve oral health.
There have been around 20,000 downloads of the app and last month paid advertising began on the Pearlii App. He also introduced a new range of premium, eco-friendly Pearlii oral care products, with 50% of profits being donated to the Pearlii Foundation.