Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Brighter’s Jake Winebaum Talks About Tooth-Loving Start-Up (Video)

One area of medical care that has gotten little attention online has been — wait for it — dental care.

But before you click away from this story to avoid thoughts of root canals, it’s the well-funded premise behind the latest start-up from longtime online exec Jake Winebaum.

The former Disney digital exec who parlayed Business.com into a $350 million sale several years ago is now at work on Brighter, a dentist discounting service.

Winebaum, noting about half of Americans pay for more than $100 billion in dental costs annually out of their own pockets, said Brighter is aimed at getting consumers a price break for mostly routine work, such as cleanings, crowns and fillings, by negotiating discounts from 25,000 dentists.

These 20 to 30 percent discounts are supplemented by reviews from Yelp and you can also buy the $79 annual plan that gives you even more benefits.

There are a few phone-based services that do this, but this “Groupon for Teeth” is yet another niche in the online buying arena.

Here’s Winebaum — who has gotten $5 million for Brighter from Mayfield — talking about it all:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work