Home » About » Healthtech Leaders » Healthtech Leader of the Month: Iris Wedeking, CEO, iDentical

Healthtech Leader of the Month: Iris Wedeking, CEO, iDentical

Mar 25, 2021

 

For the second installment of the Healthtech Leader of the Month series, we interviewed Iris Wedeking, CEO and co-founder of iDentical, maker of the iDenticalTM personalized, drill-free dental implant. Today, Iris shares a few of her insights from her journey into the medical device community. Let’s dive in.

 

iDentical Aims to Democratize Dental Implants

iDentical, part of the Rosenman Innovators program since 2019, is developing a dental implant that removes the drill from the equation. For patients, a traditional dental implant requires an invasive and arduous process; for dentists, becoming trained to place implants requires hundreds of hours of additional training after dental school. Iris founded iDentical with the mission of making dental implants more accessible for both dentists and patients.

Iris Wedeking at the iDentical office in Mountain View, CA.

Her Journey into Healthtech: 3 Lessons Learned

Iris began her career working for Stanford University’s Hillel, where she founded Camp Kesem: a student-run summer camp program for children whose parents have cancer. Now in its twentieth year, Kesem has expanded into a national nonprofit with 137 chapters across 44 states. “That was my first foray into entrepreneurship, where I learned how to identify a major unmet need and then scale a program to meet that need,” Iris recounts. After founding Kesem, she earned her MBA from UC Berkeley and worked in marketing research at The Clorox Company. “After eight years at Clorox, I had gained incredibly valuable business and marketing skills and felt the need to utilize these skills to make more of a positive impact in the world,” she says.

Here are a few things she’s learned from her years as an entrepreneur:

Lesson #1: Identifying a need is the first step to identifying a solution.

Back in 2016, Iris ran three dental implant centers across the Bay Area in partnership with dentist Dr. Todd Wedeking. However, she struggled to find enough dentists trained in implant dentistry to staff their offices and to meet patient demand. “10 million teeth are taken out every year in the US alone, and 120 million adults in the US are missing at least one tooth. Yet, only 20% of general dentists in the US place dental implants today. Those numbers show that there’s a need for more dentists to offer dental implants,” says Iris.

Lesson #2: Invest in your idea.

Iris incorporated iDentical in 2018 with the mission of making dental implants more accessible to all. Because the drill-free implant solution has such wide applicability, it has a good deal of value in many areas. “An implant is the best replacement for a natural tooth that we have today,“ says Iris. “The drill-free process enables general dentists to place implants without extensive training, which makes it easy for dentists to adopt, and therefore, far more accessible for patients.” Iris was motivated to develop and commercialize the drill-free implant technology because she realized it would disrupt and significantly expand the dental implant market, and could positively impact the lives of millions of patients worldwide.

Lesson #3: Surround yourself with people who have the skills and expertise that you don’t have.

After Iris founded iDentical, her first order of business was to build her team. Based on her experience building and scaling Kesem earlier in her career, she began networking to connect with fellow CEOs, mentors and investors in the dental and medtech industries.“ It’s important to surround yourself with people who have the skills and expertise that you don’t have, which allows you to build a robust team,” she says. “I’m also a big believer in building teams that are aligned to a common goal and inspired by a shared vision.” In 2019, iDentical joined the Rosenman Innovators program, which helped them to grow with advisors and investors, assemble an R&D team, and raise $4.6 million in capital in 2020.

Welcome to the Healthtech Neighborhood: Final Thoughts

Iris describes how joining the Rosenman Innovators program has supported the growth of iDentical and her own growth as a CEO: “I was told, ‘We want you to feel like you have a community you can call on when you need help.’ I felt like I was new to the neighborhood of medtech, and everyone at the UCSF Rosenman Institute gave me a warm welcome as I embarked on this journey.”Rosenman Institute gave me a warm welcome as I embarked on this journey.”

Iris says that their path forward is clear: “Everyone working on iDentical shares the vision of democratizing dental implants worldwide. The dental implant market is ripe for disruption, and iDentical is poised to lead the way.”

Become a Better Healthtech Entrepreneur: Join Our Vibrant Community.

“The UCSF Rosenman Institute does a great job of building community and bringing support and resources to healthtech entrepreneurs. I just attended a webinar they put on about public speaking… Even though I’ve pitched now hundreds of times, it’s always great to learn some tips on how to best tell your story, especially in this Zoom world.”

-Iris Wedeking

 

Rosenman Innovators awardees in 2019.

You’re not alone in your mission to bring better health technology to patients and medical professionals. Now more than ever, connecting with a global community of entrepreneurs is an invaluable step towards realizing your goals within the health technology world.

Receive invitations to free and paid virtual events with healthtech entrepreneurs, payers, and service providers when you subscribe to our newsletter.

Or, if your inbox is a mess, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter or check out our podcast.