Thursday 10 May 2012

Teeth, Photos & Investment.

As a child I fell off my BMX and face planted right into the ground. The upshot was that I smashed my front tooth. I was about 8 at the time, so I couldn’t get it crowned. Ten years later as an adult I had it crowned and that lasted for about 8 years until the tooth underneath began to decay. I had to have it removed. This left me with a denture for six months before I could finally have a bridge fitted.

I have to tell you that being in your mid twenties and buying denture grip is really, really uncool. Even now with a bridge I have to be very careful biting into things and I spend every second of everyday wondering if today will be the day that the dental cement gives way and my bridge falls out. Leaving me toothless.

To say that I’m interested in dental technology is an understatment and that’s why my ears perked up at an article that outlined how researchers are now using stem cells to grow new teeth. It’s a great read and whilst it doesn’t seem likely that I can order some from my dentist any time soon, it’s good to know that it’s on the cards.

However, what disturbed me when I was reading about this awesome tecnology was that the researchers (so far) have received $1.7 million dollars in funding. A million dollars is a lot of money to me, I certainly don’t have that kind of money lying around but in technology venture capital circles this kind of money isn’t that large a sum. It got me thinking about this graph below.

Graph of comparison of investment amounts

It’s just all kinds of wrong that companies will swallow other companies for millions and billions and yet technology like growing teeth gets a piddly $1.7 million in funding. I’m aware that corporate aquistions, venture capital investment and research funding are all seperate beasts, but still. When another photo sharing app gets purchased for a cool billion and when non starting start-ups (color, I’m looking at you) get $40 million in funding for an idea and when researchers growing teeth from stem cells get a paltry $1.7 million. Then the funding model is wrong. All wrong.