Alex Frommeyer still believes the toothbrush can be a data machine. Two years after launching his mobile-app-synced Beam Brush, the founder and CEO of Beam Technologies is ready to connect the product's users to a U.S.-wide network of dentists. It will award dental-care discounts based on points patients generate by using their smart teeth scrubbers in conjunction with a new membership program. Think of it as a loyalty card for the internet of thngs.
The StarCard, a digital member card that sits inside the Beam app, is set to launch today. Program users will pay $99 for a year's worth of discounts for any family member from providers who are part of the Careington network, which includes around 95,000 dentists in 47 states, according to Mr. Frommeyer. A Beam Brush is included in the deal. Members might get 60% off a cleaning or 40% off a root canal when they rack up stars by brushing and interacting with the app.
"We're actively working on more relationships with dental carriers, and that will remain a large part of our company in how we partner and distribute our product," said Mr. Frommeyer, who likened the StarCard offering to Progressive's auto insurance discount rewards program, Snapshot, which uses a small device installed under car steering wheels to gauge driving habits.
The startup will promote the mobile card program to families online, primarily in social media, as well as through partnerships with businesses that will offer the discount program to employees. Mr. Frommeyer declined to name any of those partners. A separate "wellness" program the company is planning will help employers subsidize dental care costs for employees.
When Ad Age interviewed Mr. Frommeyer about the company in May 2013, he stressed that Beam is not a toothbrush company. "We're actually not interested in toothbrushes at all. We're interested in health data," he said at the time. The same is true today. "Our ambition around that statement has probably increased," he said last week.
In the case of the digitized toothbrush and StarCard program, the data will help inform Beam, and in the future Careington network dentists, how their services related to people's actual dental hygiene behavior.
"If we know there are a million people in Beam's ecosystem and we know what behavioral triggers we tend to see with high rates of gum disease, then that insight can be translated to a dentist when we see those triggers hit," said Mr. Frommeyer.
While Careington will get a cut of the $99 annual member fee, individual dentists are not paid by Beam to take part in the program. Their reward will be business from StarCard members, said Mr. Frommeyer.
The company received $5 million in Series A funding led by Drive Capital in August and will not reveal the number of active users of its Beam Brush. The StarCard has been tested in a pilot phase by around 100 people.
Data associated with the brush and loyalty app won't be sold in any form at this stage, he said. "At this point we're super concentrated on what can Beam learn."