A HIGH-profile dentist-to-the-stars is to offer affordable VIP treatments to patients across the UK – using online crowdfunding to finance the ambitious project.
Dr Biju Krishnan already runs successful cosmetic dentistry clinics in London’s Harley Street and in Edinburgh, counting celebrities like Holly Willoughby among his patients.
Now, the award-winning dentist plans to set up a network of VIP Smiles practices in 12 locations across Britain and is seeking hundreds of online backers to help finance the start-up – believed to be a first for the UK dental sector.
Dr Krishnan said: “Dentistry in the UK has seen nothing like this until now. Crowdfunding is still in its infancy in Britain, but it is a superb way for ordinary people to invest modest sums of money in the most exciting start-up businesses.
“With the banks struggling and stocks and shares flat, backing a new business is one of the few investments which can still deliver a handsome return.
“Normally it is only venture capitalists or other big money investors, like the TV Dragons, who can afford to take the risk, because untried businesses are looking for tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time.
“What is brilliant about this system is that we are asking people to invest as little as £50 and that won’t just get them a stake in the company – they will also receive 20 per cent of their investment up front as a credit against cosmetic dental treatments and our exclusive A-List Card.
“Depending on the level of investment they make they could even receive these treatments for free and unlike other investments where it can often take a while to reap the rewards, with VIP Smiles you can experience benefits instantly.”
Dr Krishnan will work with Exeter-based Crowdcube, which has notched up notable online business investment successes, including securing the world’s first £1million crowdfunding investment.
For VIP Smiles, every investor will be given an ‘A-List card’ entitling them to an exclusive discounted cosmetic dental treatment price list at all VIP Smiles practices for life and a range of other great benefits
Dr Krishnan added: “When you look at it in those terms, we only need 600 people across the UK to invest. If someone is about to pay out £400 for a cosmetic treatment, then by investing just a little bit more they could receive a considerable discount on their treatment as well as any future treatments – and own part of an exciting new business.
“While crowdfunding attracts many small investors, typically up to 60 per cent of any backing will come from bigger hitters. Those prepared to make bigger investments in VIP Smiles – at £2,500, £5,000 and £10,000 – will retain a greater proportion of the business, bringing with it a variety of personal and financial benefits.”
All investors will be given the opportunity to vote pro-rata on business decisions and one elected investor will have the chance to sit on the board of directors. VIP Smiles is also in the process of applying for EIS status, which will allow investors to take advantage of a range of tax reliefs.
Ultimately though, Dr Krishnan’s aim is to reward investors by buying back their stake and he added: “Ultimately, we are looking to buy back all the stakes within the first two years of trading.
“We would buy this back at double the rate paid, which means that someone who invested £5,000 would receive their full £5,000 but still retain half of their shares. They will then be free to either retain these or negotiate a sale.
“When you look at the investment in these terms it is extremely attractive to both large and small investors and is one of only a handful of investment opportunities that offers investors this level of rewards and longevity.”
Already Dr Krishnan has around 12 established, independent cosmetic dental practices across the UK keen to work with the VIP Smiles programme. Each will pay to be part of the network, with access to training, favourable deals with the biggest name dental suppliers and a pipeline of customers keen to undergo high-quality treatments endorsed by celebrities.
As well as running his award-winning Lubiju cosmetic dental practices in London’s Harley Street and Edinburgh, Dr Krishnan is also a serial entrepreneur. In the late 90s, he launched – and later sold – a highly successful online dental supply business when web business was new.
More recently he created and launched the innovative C-FAST adult teeth straightening system, now in use by hundreds of dentists across the UK. Offering affordable braces for adults, the system is UK-based, which means enhanced training and support and lowers costs for dentists.
He added: “I have spent 20 years building up my business and professional credentials and wouldn’t risk them on any project unless I was totally confident of success – and the same is true for the other clinical directors.
“However, I’ve also enjoyed being at the cutting edge of new technology and I firmly believe crowdfunding will become a significant part of the investment landscape.
“It also feels incredibly exciting to be putting a new cosmetic dentistry business into the hands of the people with the greatest interest in making it a success – the patients themselves. This is a genuinely unique opportunity.”
To take part in the VIP Smiles crowdfunding project, visit http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/vip-smiles-10506 and more information about Lubiju can be found at www.lubiju.co.uk.
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