“We had bookings at midnight, one AM last night and six ‘o’ clock this morning. I had a couple of calls, two people had booked and were in pain. ‘I’ve booked in Tower Bridge’ ‘I’ve Booked in Soho’. So I said, ‘great, did you read the email, everything’s fine.’”

This is currently the life of Lloyd Price, ex-Badoo man and founder of Zesty, a service that will find you a dentist in London at the click of a button.

“’Yeah but I just need to know is the appointment booked?’

‘Yes, everything’s fine.’”

Unlike, say, content discovery engines or Taxi booking apps, people tend to be pretty sensitive about their teeth, so overcoming peoples’ innate natural fear that a system won’t work effectively is one of the biggest challenges for Price.

“When you’re in pain, it’s human psychology. I want to speak to someone to know ‘have I got the 8:30 appointment?’ ‘We sent you an email confirmation, we’ve sent you a text message confirmation, would you like me to verbally tell you? Yes, it’s on the system, you’re booked in for the 8:30.’”

The last thing on your mind

Also unlike other services apps, the biggest factor when choosing where to get your emergency (or otherwise) dental work carried out isn’t really cost.

When using the service, there are only a few tabs to contend with. The first shows available appointments (anything in blue is within office hours and anything in red is outside office hours), the second is ratings and reviews and the third is the ‘Practice’ tab, which also has the pricing info on there too – but not too much of it.

“We’ve deliberately gone light on pricing because the research that we did showed that people don’t book a healthcare appointment based on pricing, they book on availability. The second biggest factor is location.”

Once a user finds an appointment it’s then – after going through an automated verification process to make sure it’s going to the right person – all confirmed via email. So there’s no need to be calling Price at midnight at all.

Until just this week, all appointments were going through the website, but Zesty also now has a new Web app that will play happily on most smartphones or tablets.

Zesty Mobile 220x332 Zesty: the dental startup with denture capital and an eye firmly on UK healthcare

Money, however, does play a part in Zesty’s future, but it seems it’s not a problematic one right now. The company closed a large Seed Round in December 2012 from Mangrove Capital Partners and is “on track with our growth plans to follow up with a Series A round in Q1 or Q2 2014″.

The future of health care

Naturally, he hopes he won’t always be answering the phones. While the service is currently only available in London he has plans to take it far and wide, and beyond dentistry.

“We integrate directly with the practice software through a big deal with Qinec, which is very exciting because it means private GPs, physios, etc. can use this incredible cloud system. It’s the most impressive thing we’ve seen – trust me I’ve met everybody in healthcare in lots and lots of meetings – there’s just nothing out there that’s cloud scalable and fast. A lot of healthcare is installed on machines, it needs to be physically downloaded onto a terminal, so a dentist can’t be at home and look on an iPad at his availability. This is all in the cloud. It’s Web-based.”

It’s through this partnership with Qinec that Price hopes Zesty will be able to expand through “all the other verticals” and, as importantly, outside of London.

“The key is in around October, November time to scale it out of London – that’s what this deal with Qinec does.”

Price says that within London alone there’s one million searches for dentistry-related services on Google. Expanding that out across the UK makes that number about six millon per month, he added. Expand it out further again beyond dentistry to anything related to health care and that number becomes 40 million per month. It’s clear to him that demand is far outstripping supply.

“It’s a huge, huge market but no one has ever looked it from the consumer’s point of view. We want to show what’s on the receptionist’s screen. Don’t just tell me there’s two appointments available when there’s really eight. Like when you book a flight, you want to see all the flights, not just two or three.”

Featured Image Credit – Thinkstock