Y-Brush Profile

Y-Brush logo.

Y-Brush is an electric toothbrush company making proper oral care easier than ever. 

Founder(s): Benjamin Cohen, Christophe Cadot

Industry: Wellness

Founded in: 2017

Location: Lyon, France

Interview With Benjamin Cohen & Christophe Cadot

Describe your product or service & the problem it’s solving:

“The NylonBlack line of toothbrushes is for people who do not brush their teeth properly, adults or children: 85% of the population brushes for less than a minute instead of the recommended two minutes. The numbers speak for themselves: on average, people brush their teeth for less than a minute, and dental problems are the most prevalent health condition worldwide. Because it can be challenging to always brush our teeth effectively, whether due to time constraints or other priorities, Y-Brush has created a toothbrush that ensures a complete brushing in a single, ultra-fast gesture. Now, there are no more excuses for not brushing our teeth properly! Y-Brush is the compact Y-shaped toothbrush that takes care of the teeth and gums in one simple motion, designed for those who have better things to do.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!

“Y-brush has created a new generation of toothbrushes that solve common difficulties encountered during tooth brushing. The story begins when Benjamin Cohen, the founder of the company, who was working in the medical device field, realizes that, in fact, tooth brushing is often insufficient and tedious. Not enough time is dedicated to brushing: less than a minute and less than twice a day. The act of brushing is complex: hard-to-reach areas are neglected, the proper movement of the toothbrush is not well-known (from the gum towards the tooth, it should be tilted at 45°), the pressure exerted is often excessive, and the use of unsuitable brush bristles can damage the gums. Benjamin then partners with a doctor of science, Christophe Cadot, and they collaborate with a team of dentists. Together, they set out on a mission to simplify tooth brushing. They design a sonic toothbrush in the shape of an arch, which fits the dental arch to brush all the teeth in a single, ultra-fast, complete motion. The inside of the arch is covered with bristles implanted at precise angles, following the recommended brushing technique. The toothbrush is activated by a sonic motion, the best way to effectively remove dental plaque while respecting the gums. The first prototypes allow the effectiveness and comfort of this new brush to be validated by tests, and four patents are filed. A crowdfunding campaign then allows the necessary funds to be raised to establish a production factory in France. It’s time to market Y-Brush in France first before expanding to Europe and the United States. In 2023, the Y-Brush toothbrush is awarded at the CES and surpasses the 80,000-user milestone, confirming the need for a 100% easy solution that allows everyone to perfectly brush their teeth in an ultra-fast motion while taking care of their gums.”

How is your startup funded, and what advice do you have for other founders seeking funding?

“Our company, specialized in the production of consumer hardware, has managed to grow through fundraising efforts. Primarily funded through fundraising, our hardware and consumer product presents a challenging scenario for financing. As a result, we have implemented a financing strategy primarily focused on private investors and family offices, involving many business leaders, a few influential personalities, and even dentists. Fortunately, in Europe, we have the advantage of financial assistance programs for businesses, which makes our journey easier. Thanks to these programs, when we raise $1 million, we have the opportunity to obtain an additional loan of the same amount. This allows us to strengthen our financial position and support our growth. My advice to those seeking funding is to never give up. The process can be difficult, but it is crucial to persevere. Stay determined, hold on, and keep fighting to achieve your financial goals.”

How big is your team, and what qualities do you look for when hiring new employees?

“We have assembled a team of 25 individuals, comprised of professionals with a strong background in other growing startups. Our employees are required to be ambitious and align perfectly with the DNA of our team and company.”

Who is your target market? How did you determine this, and what strategies did you use to reach and engage them?

“A marketing persona emerges based on their level of desire and commitment to brushing their teeth, which corresponds to a significant moment of truth. The ‘flexible’ profile – a substantial minority of the population, around a third, has a flexible profile. Their moment of truth is painful on a daily basis. Brushing is perceived as an unpleasant moment, synonymous with wasted time. It is done out of obligation, almost like a punishment. For this profile, brushing adapts to circumstances. When time is lacking, or fatigue is overwhelming, they allow themselves to skip or rush through brushing, even though there is always a sense of shame in admitting that they didn’t brush their teeth ‘properly.’ To convince them to adopt Y-Brush, it is important to emphasize that this brush ensures a complete brushing in a reduced time. With its well-designed shape, Y-Brush allows for effortless and proper teeth brushing while respecting often-sensitive gums. This promise is so tempting for this profile that they can be persuaded simply through the recommendation of a close acquaintance or a recognized influencer.”

What’s your primary marketing strategy?

“Our marketing strategy is based on a multichannel approach. We utilize a combination of public relations, social media, and paid advertising on platforms like Google to generate both brand awareness and sales. By adopting this approach, we aim to reach a wide audience and maximize our marketing impact across various channels.”

What has been your most successful marketing campaign? Why do you think it worked so well?

“Our most successful marketing campaign was our PR campaign during the product launch. We believe it worked so well because of our impactful 10-second promise that had a ‘wow’ factor. Additionally, our product was highly innovative and new, generating significant interest. This unique combination attracted a large amount of traffic and sales, all achieved with minimal investment.”

What do you consider to be your company’s biggest competitive advantage? How do you maintain it?

“We consider our greatest competitive advantage to be our internally developed, patented technology manufactured in our own factory. To maintain this advantage, we ensure the protection of our patents and keep a significant portion of our know-how confidential. This enables us to retain full control over our technology, ensure its quality, and stay ahead of our competitors.”

What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of building your startup? How did you overcome them?

“At the beginning of our startup journey, we were seen as ‘crazy’ in France, a country where ideas that drastically challenge existing norms can face resistance. We overcame these challenges by persevering, convincing skeptics, raising funds, selling our solution, and building our factory. Today, we are often cited as a successful example in the startup world.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“This is not my first entrepreneurial adventure, so I wasn’t particularly surprised. However, what really surprised me were the extreme differences in terms of valuation and fundraising amounts between Europe and the United States, especially during fundraising rounds. I noticed that much less mature projects, without any revenue, were able to raise significantly larger amounts than more developed European projects, even with an equivalent market. This disparity truly astonished me.”

What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?

“My #1 advice for startup founders is to hire the right teams from the beginning, as it is crucial for the success of your company. Look for talented, passionate, and complementary individuals who share your vision and values. Invest time and resources in recruitment. A strong and competent team can tackle challenges, innovate, and achieve set goals. Simultaneously, it is essential to persevere. Launching a company involves challenges and moments of doubt. Persevere in the face of obstacles, learn from your mistakes, and adapt to market changes. Stay focused on your goal, be prepared to pivot if necessary, but above all, do not give up. Perseverance is often the key that distinguishes successful startups from those that fail.”

Tell Us Your Startup Story

Are you a startup founder and want to share your entrepreneurial journey with our readers? Click below to contact us today!

Request an Interview

Featured Articles