With $5 million from international backers, Mexico's Moons brings its Invisalign killer to YC

Jonathan Shieber

Moons, a Mexico City-based startup that's angling to be the Invisalign for the Latin American market, has joined the ranks of Y Combinator as part of the accelerator's latest cohort.

The company already has $5 million in financing in the bank from an international group of investors, including Jaguar Ventures, Foundation Capital and Tuesday Capital, along with a whole host of strategic individual investors from Latin America's dental community.

"We provide dental services throughout Mexico, Colombia and soon throughout Latin America," says Moon co-founder and chief executive officer, Tommaso Tomba.

Like Invisalign, Moons conducts free initial conversations with potential patients and does a free scan of their teeth. "We have a team of orthodontists that take a look at the patient and determines whether the patient is a good candidate," says Tomba.

If there's a good fit, then the company creates a treatment plan and consultation schedule with a patient and fits them out with a pair of 3D-printed aligners -- all for around $1,200.

That's far lower than the treatment costs using established vendors, says Tomba. Already the company has 18 locations in Mexico and another two in Colombia -- where Tomba expects operations to expand at a rapid clip. "We're turning more cases than Invisalign in Mexico because we've brought the price right down," says Tomba.

A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford Universities, Tomba and his founding team chose Latin America to launch their dental business after months of market analysis. Latin America is host to three of the most active destinations for cosmetic surgeries in the world.

Tomba market-tested by creating a website advertising the launch of his new business and taking pre-orders for the service in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. He settled on Mexico in part because of the demand he saw and in part because he'd had experience in the market previously as an early employee of Linio -- a Rocket Internet-backed competitor to Amazon on the continent.

During his time at Linio, Tomba met his co-founder Leonardo Miron, a serial entrepreneur whose previous business was a mobile phone repair service called Rescata. Alex Clapp, a university friend of Tomba's with experience in investment banking and healthcare-focused private equity in London and New York, rounded out the founding team.

The team chose to apply to Y Combinator because of the firm's access to capital and ability to open doors in the U.S., Tomba said. "In LatAm, access to capital to build long-lasting companies is still relatively limited compared to the U.S., so we think it makes sense to YC so that they help us with investors and attracting talent going forward," he said.

And Moons has bigger dreams than just the dental market. "We plan to go into other healthcare verticals," says Tomba. "Always with the core tenet of providing high-quality healthcare and making it accessible."