In our exclusive interview with Khamzat Asabaev, the innovative entrepreneur and founder of SoftSmile, we explore his journey to reshape the orthodontic industry.
Asabaev’s passion for science and technology, combined with a background in law, led him to establish SoftSmile in 2020, a New York-based company that empowers orthodontists to offer affordable, high-quality clear aligner treatments to their patients.
By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, SoftSmile’s cutting-edge software allows doctors to manage all stages of the aligner treatment process, bridging the access-to-care gap in the market.
Asabaev’s ambitious vision to expand the market and make aligners accessible to everyone has already begun to transform the orthodontic landscape.
In this enlightening conversation, Asabaev shares his insights on building a successful business, adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape, fostering a culture of growth, and his aspirations for SoftSmile in 2023.
Join us as we delve into the mind of the entrepreneur revolutionizing the world of orthodontics, one perfect smile at a time.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Khamzat Asabaev: I became an entrepreneur to address the access to care gap in the orthodontic market, with the goal of significantly reducing the cost of a perfect smile.
My educational background is in law, but my passion for science and math fueled my interest in founding and leading a technology business that positively impacts the entire world.
SoftSmile is a New York-based technology and software company that equips orthodontists to deliver custom, high-quality, and affordable clear aligner treatment to patients.
Established in 2020, SoftSmile provides AI-driven orthodontic aligner treatment planning software that allows doctors to manage all stages of the process in one beautifully designed and easy-to-use platform.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Khamzat Asabaev: Seven out of ten people suffer from malocclusion. Crooked teeth are usually treated by braces. However, many people would prefer aligners because they are invisible and more comfortable.
Yet, aligners are so expensive that only a fraction of people who need it can afford it. This is because the technology for the production of aligners is cumbersome and less intuitive.
We built a new AI-enhanced solution that helps any doctor in any part of the world make aligners right in their office. This will expand the market and make aligners available to everyone.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Khamzat Asabaev: I wish someone had told me that all the problems and risks that I experience are not unique and there are people who already went through similar situations. There is this well of wisdom and it’s important to find a way to it.
Meanwhile, the lesson that I learned from the best entrepreneurs is to stay focused on offering a solution that your customers can’t find elsewhere and deploy the product as soon as possible, even if it’s a demo version. That way you can get valuable feedback and understand the level of demand.
In the next quarter, I plan to build a larger network of people I can rely on for advice and support as we work to scale SoftSmile. For example, ramping up how we engage with orthodontists will fuel our growth as a global company and our team is laying the groundwork to partner more directly with orthodontists in the coming months.
This will enable them to improve the speed and quality of care, while also giving them greater control over the aligner design and fabrication process, which ultimately improves their bottom line.
Additionally, SoftSmile will expand and advance its AI capabilities in 2023. A key system improvement includes automating the process of reducing periodontal ligament pressure, which will ensure optimal patient comfort and improved outcomes.
We also hope to launch a new product in the coming months that will be a capability no one in the orthodontic industry has seen before.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Khamzat Asabaev: Customers have come to expect the level of convenience that comes with online businesses. I expect the adoption of new technologies in various industries, especially in B2B, to rapidly increase.
In many cases this will not only reduce costs for customers but also increase volume demand, allowing for more competitive pricing. We are capitalizing on this new world by continuing to invest in SoftSmile’s technology and making sure that our products are on track to be available to customers all over the world.
To expand our opportunities we are establishing strategic partnerships with leading orthodontists, orthodontic labs, dental professionals, and 3D printing companies.
We are also staying up-to-date on the latest trends in machine learning and 3D bioprinting to make sure that our products are at the forefront of the orthodontic industry.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Khamzat Asabaev: The real challenge right now is finding ways to increase demand while keeping costs affordable and the quality of products high. For example, SoftSmile is working to make clear aligners more accessible for the 500 million people worldwide who could benefit from orthodontic treatment.
To do this, we reduced the cost of aligners below $2,000 which required advances in technology such as 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, as well as reliable digital treatment planning software that can be quickly and seamlessly integrated into existing doctor workflows.
By addressing cost and access challenges, we can create an opportunity for growth in the clear aligner industry and make orthodontic treatment available to many more people. This approach can be applied across many industries to create opportunities for those facing cost and resource challenges.
2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Khamzat Asabaev: We have learned to be prepared for anything, be agile, and stay innovative. Proactivity is key to staying ahead of the competition and businesses should continuously look for new opportunities, experiment with new technologies, and focus on customer service.
My advice for businesses in 2023 is to focus on building relationships with customers and partners and to provide the highest quality of services and products you can.
Your customers and partners are what keep your doors open, so be sure to take time to foster connections with them and show you care. It is also crucial to prioritize staying up-to-date on the latest technology and industry trends so that you can build a competitive advantage.
Furthermore, businesses should focus on diversifying their product offerings so they can be resilient in the face of economic downturns. And finally, businesses should strive to create a culture of learning so that everyone embraces continuously improving and growing.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Khamzat Asabaev: Success in 2023 for SoftSmile means transforming the aligner space by becoming the platform that unites doctors, patients, and manufacturers.
We will continue to develop our AI capabilities to make orthodontic care more accessible by streamlining and enhancing care. We will continue to expand our operations on a global scale and develop multiple versions of our software to increase our efficiency.
We will also keep pushing to help orthodontists serve patients who want a perfect smile but are concerned about the cost. We will aim to fuel the aligner market growth of 30% per year by making sure that every patient can find their way to perfect their smile without sacrificing a fortune.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Khamzat Asabaev for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Khamzat Asabaev or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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