Alex Frommeyer of Beam Dental

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Alex Frommeyer, the co-founder and CEO of Beam Dental, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Beam Dental – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Beam was born from the early exposure my co-founders and I had to the dental industry, especially through our family members. We founded Beam because we wanted to democratize dental services, and far too few people have access to dental care when they need it today. Dental insurance is a fragmented market that’s still analog, and we saw the opportunity to build the first fully digital approach to dental benefits, with a unique focus on preventive care.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

Beam has a unique and complex business model, spanning IoT/hard goods with our Beam Brush, digital products for mobile and web, and a risk based, regulated insurance product. Understanding all these parts, as well as staffing them and raising the capital to support these various functions, was incredibly difficult. This brought the company to multiple near-death experiences, which is at least partially why we have built our core values around grit, resilience, and tenacity. These values and experiences come in handy in a year like 2020, when resilience and grit are critical components of navigating a global pandemic.

What does the future hold for Beam Dental?

We are incredibly excited about Beam’s future. In many ways, we are just getting started building our original vision for the company and 2021 will be a really fun year for us. We will be expanding our product mix in our existing customer segments, and adding new products for new customer segments as well. As always, we are taking a digital first approach to everything and ensuring Beam is the easiest to use, smartest, and most preventive focused product in our market.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Columbus?

Columbus outkicks its coverage in the sheer volume of startups and the number of successfully scaling businesses as well. My co-founders and I moved Beam to Columbus in 2014 and we have been blown away by the rapid ascent of the startup scene’s success. CMM, Root, Olive, and other matured/maturing companies are critical to having a talent pool full of folks that understand how to build high growth firms, and this will pay dividends to Columbus for decades to come.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

There are two great ways to ‘scratch the itch’, and neither one of them is the GaryVee nights and weekends plan (this advice assumes you want to build a high growth/scalable company, not a side hustle or a hobby business, as these are completely different processes). One way is to quit your job and start your firm tomorrow. You won’t be able to invest and learn quickly enough working a 9-5 job to get your big idea off the ground, and if you hesitate to drop everything and start immediately, you may not be passionate enough about the idea or its likelihood of success. The other way to scratch the itch is working at a Series A or later startup. It doesn’t even matter necessarily what type of role it is, as you will almost certainly benefit from seeing the strategy, decision making, resource allocation, problem solving, and resulting successes/failures first hand. It will be very instructive in the things you might want to incorporate into your own company, and you can leverage that experience to avoid common pitfalls in hiring, fundraising, and strategy.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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