Repeat entrepreneurs Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson built this unicorn in record time in what some have called one of the greatest direct-to-consumer success stories of the century.


Years: A Case Study in Dental Disruption

In the direct-to-consumer era, few companies have achieved the phenomenal success that Byte has experienced. This unique teeth aligner startup, founded by entrepreneurs Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson in 2017, broke the mold by launching a product that didn’t require office visits. Instead, it allowed for online doctor consultations, providing a revolutionary customer experience.

Scott Cohen’s Insight and Strategy

Scott Cohen, Byte’s co-founder, had an ambition for the company to offer a customer experience “better than the likes of Apple.” This core vision played a significant role in shaping the company’s trajectory.

Also when asked about Byte’s groundbreaking approach, Cohen recalled an “ah-ha” moment when meeting with a local, prominent orthodontist. The orthodontist mentioned how technology and convenience would reshape dental practices. Cohen saw this as an opportunity to bring this convenience directly to consumers, which led to the creation of Byte.

Creating a Brand and Culture

Cohen’s influence was not limited to the company’s innovative product. From day one, he emphasized access and affordability, driving the brand’s appeal to 20- and 30-somethings. Byte’s marketing strategy, infused with humor and endorsed by celebrities, helped the company stand out in the $12 billion U.S. orthodontics industry.

Furthermore, the company’s push towards online consultations resonated strongly during the pandemic, allowing it to flourish even as traditional dental practices struggled.

Focus on Profitability and Growth

Byte’s customer base jumped from 100 to 10,000 in the first year. Scott Cohen attributed this rapid growth to the company’s disciplined focus on consumer experience and profitability. Moreover, unlike many startups, Byte prioritized sustainable growth over rapid expansion at any cost. Cohen believes this approach was essential in accelerating adoption.

Interestingly, Byte achieved all of this without venture capital funding, making its success even more remarkable.

What’s Next for Scott Cohen?

Byte’s success story is a testament to Cohen’s vision, strategy, and leadership. The company’s rapid pace led to an impressive $100 million in annual sales within two years of launching, culminating in a $1 billion acquisition by Dentsply Sirona Inc.

Scott Cohen’s innovative thinking continues to inspire. Additionally, he recently revealed that he has begun working on another direct-to-consumer model emphasizing that the new venture will continue to focus on world-class consumer experience and strong unit economics driving profitability.

Byte’s breakthrough story reflects Scott Cohen’s deep insights into consumer needs and his ability to deliver exceptional value and convenience. As he gears up for his next venture, the industry and consumers alike will be watching to see what he creates next. His philosophy and business acumen have already left an indelible mark, and the anticipation of his next move is palpable.

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