Rise of the Robots: Enter Neocis
DFJ Growth Partners Randy Glein and Jocelyn Kinsey
At DFJ Growth, we make bold bets on the future. We look through the lens of technological innovation, seeking opportunities to transform markets with uniquely positioned products that can spawn industry-defining companies.
We’ve been investing in “the next industrial revolution” paradigm for more than a decade, partnering with innovative companies like Formlabs, SpaceX, and Tesla that incorporate robotics and autonomous systems to redefine legacy industries.
As part of this framework, we’ve long believed there are opportunities to expand the use of robotics in surgical applications, delivering highly enhanced precision and improved patient outcomes in complex medical procedures.
The first generation of surgical robotics produced companies like Intuitive and Mako Surgical. Our conviction in this sector has led us to investments that span our investment themes in robotics and precision health. Last year, we made our first move by teaming up with Neuralink, where we invested in its mission to use advanced robotics for implanting a new generation of brain-machine interfaces for patients with severe brain and spinal cord injuries. We then turned our attention to the dental field, which has long suffered from a lack of innovation … until the emergence of Neocis.
Today, after hearing a wave of glowing reviews from highly accomplished leaders in the field, we are excited to announce our investment in Neocis as it lays the foundation for the future of dentistry and oral implant surgery.
Robotic-Assisted Surgery is the New Gold Standard
Since 2000, more than six million robotic-assisted surgeries have been performed across medical specialties, including cardiovascular, neurology, and orthopedics. Cutting-edge robots have quickly become the standard of care for complex surgeries due to improved precision, software for exact planning and guidance, minimally invasive methods, reduced human error, and the career extension it affords experienced surgeons by improving their dexterity and vision as physical skills decline. Dental implant surgery is an ideal match for the advantages of surgical robotics, where Neocis is building a dominant position in the market as the first and only FDA-approved surgical robotic system for dental implant surgery, the Yomi robotic system.
The Team to Make it Happen
When we first met Alon Mozes and the Neocis team, we were struck by their deep experience in surgical robotics and their passion for applying this expertise to an overlooked sector. Alon and Neocis Co-Founder Juan Salcedo were principal design engineers at Mako Surgical. They developed the advanced surgical robotic knee replacement system that was fundamental to the company’s success. They realized there were similar problems to solve in dentistry, where they could apply their unique learnings from Mako. It was that “a-ha” moment that led them to form Neocis over a decade ago. It takes time to develop disruptive technology, and now Neocis is capitalizing on their years of development with a robotic system that stands alone in the market. We are thrilled and privileged to partner with the incredibly talented team at Neocis, along with their world-class syndicate of investors in Mithril Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Vivo Capital, Section 32, and Intuitive Co-Founder Fred Moll.
Product-first Approach — Bringing the Precision of Robotics to Dental Surgery
The Yomi robotic system from Neocis combines the benefits of a tightly integrated and proprietary hardware and software solution, bringing substantial improvements to the planning, workflow, guidance, precision, and safety of dental implant surgery. This system improves the efficiency and productivity of dentists and oral surgeons while dramatically reducing surgical time and improving patient outcomes.
Yomi introduces navigational robotic guidance and real-time visualization to procedures that have traditionally been performed freehand or with inflexible plastic guides. The tightly integrated software and robotic-arm system is game changing for dentists and oral surgeons, expanding the opportunity set for both. Yomi gives general practitioner dentists a path to perform surgeries previously inaccessible to them while allowing oral surgeons to perform complex implant surgeries more efficiently and effectively. As one practitioner stated, “Yomi is the iPhone compared to the flip phone” for implant procedures.
General dentists and oral surgeons who operate with Yomi love it. It improves their accuracy and precision, resulting in improved patient care. It fits elegantly into existing workflows, using 3D visualization software for surgical planning and a robotic arm with haptics to guide the surgical instruments, ensuring accurate placement, angle, and depth of the implant. Compared to traditional freehand invasive techniques, Yomi allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive, flapless dental implant surgeries, which leads directly to faster procedures, faster recovery, and less pain for the patient. Yomi makes good surgeons better, helping them improve at their craft while growing their practices through higher volumes and more lucrative procedures. As a result, we found several dentists who are building their practices around Yomi, seeing it as the future of their profession and as a source of growth and differentiation in the near term.
Leading Dentistry into the Future
We could not be more impressed with the market’s response to Yomi. It is a truly differentiated product that brings real innovation to a market in need of this type of breakthrough. Surgeons win. Patients win. And hopefully…the company and their investors will win.
We are honored to team up with this esteemed group, and we are excited to help them turn a one-of-a-kind product into an iconic, one-of-a-kind company that improves the lives of patients everywhere.
This mission inspires us to jump in with both feet and give our all to Alon and the Neocis team as they seek to bring dental surgery into the future.