Indianapolis-based health-tech startup Plan Forward LLC has closed on a $2 million round of growth funding.
Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures led the round. Other investors include the IU Angel Network, which supports Indiana University-affiliated early-stage companies.
IU alumna Megan Lohman launched Plan Forward in 2018. She serves as co-CEO along with Jane Levy of New York City, who joined the company in 2021.
Plan Forward previously raised $675,000 in a seed round that closed in January 2021.
Plan Forward helps dental practices create membership plans for their uninsured patients. It also offers a software platform through which the practices can manage those plans.
Details vary depending on the dental practice, but in general, dental membership plans allow patients to pay a monthly or annual fee that covers the cost of preventative services such as routine cleanings and X-rays. Members also receive a discount on other services that could include fillings, crowns or root canals.
Lohman said the concept of dental memberships has gained significant traction since the pandemic for a variety of reasons. In the early months of the pandemic, COVID restrictions meant many dental offices were temporarily closed, and at the same time some patients were worried about losing their jobs and their dental insurance along with it.
And over the past few years, dental insurance reimbursement rates have stagnated or declined, while the number of uninsured patients has risen, Lohman said.
On average, Lohman said, 25% of a dental practice’s patients do not have dental insurance. But there are many more who skip dental care altogether because they don’t have insurance. “They don’t want to go to the dentist because they don’t know what it costs. They just think, ‘You know, if I don’t have insurance, I’m not going to the dentist.’”
Dental memberships can make costs more predictable for patients, while allowing practices to serve patients who might otherwise not seek care, Lohman said.
Plan Forward’s target customers are dental groups that have between one and 49 locations. The company has customers in about 40 states, Lohman said, with “a decent client base in Indiana.” She declined to provide an exact number for the company’s client base.
Plan Forward has a total of 15 full- and part-time employees. Lohman is currently the only Indiana-based employee at the company, which operates as a remote-only company.
Lohman said Plan Forward plans to use most of the $2 million investment on sales and marketing, while some will go toward improving its software platform.