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A dental franchising firm is set to open practices under its own brand after securing £400,000 in external investment.

Set up in 2012, Durham headquartered Dentist Direct’s operations have grown steadily, with five practices now on its books across the UK.

The company offers design-led, family friendly practices and works with dentists to provide them with the resources they need to set themselves up in practice as well as give ongoing support.

It currently has practices running under its own brand in Colchester and Milton Keynes and is looking at locations for its first such practices in the North East, with a further eight sites already under consideration elsewhere in the country.

To provide the working capital to action its development plans, Dentist Direct worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in a £400,000 investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund.

UNW and Mincoffs acted as advisors to Dentist Direct on the investment, while Bond Dickinson and Clive Owen & Co supported NEL Fund Managers. Further bank finance has also been secured by Dentist Direct to help fund future practice acquisitions.

The firm has identified more than 400 places across the UK as potential locations for practices, based on the demographics of each local area and the way in which dental services are currently provided there.

The business concept has constructed around detailed research into what people want from a modern dental practice, with areas ranging from exceptional customer services, car parking and convenient opening hours all rated alongside cost, clinical excellence and the latest dental technologies.

In addition to the firm’s practice-based work, it has developed a ‘modular pod’ which can be rolled out in locations such as supermarkets and retail car parks.

Craig Huntingdon, Chief Executive at Dentist Direct said ‘Our aim with Dentist Direct was to move away from the traditional style of dentistry and respond to what patients told us they wanted to see in terms of facilities, access and treatment.

We’ve invested in the latest Waterlase technology, meaning that our dentists often don’t need to use drills or needles as well as providing easy car parking and offering comfortable, modern environments in which people can enjoy complimentary refreshments and wi-fi.

The franchised practices have all grown extremely quickly, which suggests that both patients and dentists recognise the quality of our approach and the investments we’ve made in each practice are working as well as we’d expected.

We’re already successfully trading under our own brand in the South of England and believe the North East offers many opportunities to create a base from which we can establish this very successful formula right across the UK.’

John Nicholson, Corporate Partner at Mincoffs said ‘We have acted for Dentist Direct since its inception and are pleased to play a part in raising these funds, which will allow them to continue their already successful expansion.’

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