6 years of building
When we partnered with a global brand to change the way the world brushes
A break with tradition
Two minutes. We’ve been taught for generations that spending two minutes brushing our teeth, two times a day, guarantees us a clean bill of oral health. It’s what stands between us and painful cavities and toothaches. It’s what saves us from the dentist’s drill.
But should we really be focusing on time? Are two-minute toothbrushers really safe from built up plaque, cavities and (gasp!) bad breath? Unfortunately, no. We’ve found that how we brush has a far greater impact on our dental health than merely how long we brush. With this in mind, Baracoda created a new product and a new index - and disrupted a daily practice shared by nearly every person on the planet: toothbrushing.
Defining a new index
By integrating a bluetooth chip and AI algorithms into our toothbrush, we made it possible to track its position in the mouth with 95% accuracy. When connected to a smartphone app, our technology makes the invisible visible. It analyzes unbrushed or underbrushed areas and creates an entirely new index, surface coverage.
Once we developed the technology, we began selling the world’s first connected toothbrush...and it failed. In the tech world, having a good idea is rarely enough. While we had extensive experience making connected devices, we had zero experience selling toothbrushes. Realizing that achieving global reach would cost millions of dollars and take much, much more time than we had, we decided to reach out to the world leader in traditional toothbrushes. In 2016, we partnered with Colgate. With their scale and ability to sell our innovation, we successfully launched our first product-range of connected toothbrushes and started changing the way the world brushes.
The evolution of a toothbrush
We launched our first connected toothbrush and began sparking simple changes in daily practicesTECH: Bluetooth position tracking + sensors
We created the first camera based experience for toothbrushing to encourage kids to brush - and brush betterTECH: Camera + sensors + AR
We integrated AI into our toothbrush and made brushing smarterTECH: AI algorithms
Connected health devices like the new Colgate® Smart Electronic Toothbrush provide a valuable opportunity to enable people to monitor their health and wellness
Dr. Patricia Verduin
Chief Technology Officer, Colgate-Palmolive Company.
The best of both worlds
The end result is something we can all be proud of ౼ Hum users increased brushing time by 250% and brushed surface by 20% ౼ but our success was hard earned. Our first challenge as a tech startup was learning to speak the same language as a global powerhouse. We also needed to understand and adapt to their way of working. When a company has been successfully running for centuries, there’s a lot to learn about their history and their habits. Lastly, we had to revise our concept of scale. Previously our notion of scale extended into the millions; for Colgate, it exceeds hundreds of millions.
Working with Colgate pushed us to rethink how and what we do, to take a step back and to learn. In turn, they took a few pages from our book as well. Today, the Hum toothbrush has conquered hundreds of thousands of users, and made with them several tens of millions of brushings!