Get to know Ohio’s successful startup leaders in our new Founder’s 5 blog series, where we feature a five-question Q&A chat with an Ohio founder.
Meet Alex Frommeyer—Co-Founder & CEO at Beam Dental
Alex Frommeyer is the Co-founder and CEO of Beam Dental, a Columbus, OH-based, insurance company reimagining dental care. He has two engineering degrees from the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering, where he graduated magna cum laude and founded his first company in 2010. Forbes listed Alex in its 30 Under 30: Manufacturing list for 2015.
How many times did you fail before finding success at Beam?
At a company level, none technically, though we tried a handful of ideas and products that totally didn’t work out. We wasted time, we wasted money, but we kept learning, and continued to sharpen our notion of what inspired us and where we thought there was opportunity.
For the three of us, we kept returning to the dental industry, even after trying to build a couple products that didn’t work in the endodontic and orthodontic space. We felt intuitively that the market was ripe for new ideas, for better data, for better software, so we started to bend our focus toward how to deliver those solutions.
What is the most important lesson you learned from failure?
Two things: follow the passion and respect the journey. Following the passion means that a person can have a massive appetite for risk and failure…if they have genuine passion for the problem they are trying to solve. Respecting the journey recognizes that even in the face of failure, I was doing something I loved with my best friends and that it was really, really fun. But the journey to success (by any measure) is much longer and harder than anyone thinks. It goes way beyond rational. If you respect that and embrace it, it’s not bad.
What is the most important lesson you learned from success?
Fundamentals are critical. We talk a lot internally about building around a stable foundation of product, technology, data, design and marketing/sales. Not only do we need to be purposeful with each action across the company, but also we should understand how the actions scale.
Venture capital, if not handled correctly, can be a crutch, so we need to make sure we are always working to build a great company that is fulfilling our mission of making dental services more accessible and affordable than ever before.
Why did you choose to scale your business in Ohio?
Ohio is a great manufacturing state, and we are big believers in domestic manufacturing. Ohio also is a big insurance state with Nationwide, Safe Auto, Grange, Progressive, Great American, and more. Finally, Ohio has a great business climate and a lot of great dynamics that help us find our early customers.
What is one thing that someone reading this blog could do to help your company?
We are in growth mode, so we want to connect with companies that either don’t offer dental insurance to their employees today, or feel like their current dental plans aren’t valuable enough. Our technology allows us to underwrite groups much more aggressively than our competitors, which means we are helping businesses save money without sacrificing the quality of the benefit.
Learn more about Beam Dental