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Align Technology (ALGN)Align Technology (also known today as Invisalign) – is the company that manufactures a 3D digital scanners and clear aligners that orthodontists use today to fix teeth and smile formation for their clients. The company was founded not so long ago – in 1997 by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth. In the beginning they started just manufacturing clean aligners. A year later after the company spent $140 million that was provided as the funding for the product, the invention was approved by Food and Drug Administration and finally Invisalign entered the market in 2000 and became public on January 26th, 2001. Closer to 2010, the company started to drop in profit, after which the FDA gave them a warning to fix the issue. Next year Align bought Cadent, a company that is located in Israel and manufactures intraoral cameras that include 3D scanners and software to display the acquired images and to plan treatment. In 2015 Joseph Hogan joined the Align Technology team and now he is known as CEO and President of the company. Align’s main headquarter is located in San Jose, California and the other two are in Moscow, Russia and Singapore, Singapore. It does its treatment planning in San Jose, Costa Rica, manufactures the aligners in Juarez, Mexico and it has its 3D centers in Moscow, Russia and Or Yehuda, Israel. Today besides the main CEO and President of Align – Joseph Hogan, there are also 10 members in the executive team and 8 members who are board of directors.
One of the founders, Chishti, came up with this idea when he was an orthodontic patient himself. After wearing braces for a while and changing them onto retainers, he started to think if it would be possible to do the entire orthodontic procedures only wearing retainers. Chishti partnered up with Wirth and a few other students at Stanford University, found their first investors and started developing their product. 3 team members that were very well knowledgeable in computer graphics, took the main part - they had to use programs such as CADmodeling, capturing geometry and 3D printers in order to start creating aligners. Successfully they perfected all the programming, and even after the project was approved by FDA, orthodontists were not sure if this product will work, because the founders did not have any knowledge in orthodontic area at all. However today it considers the most convenient way to fix teeth and the majority of the clients expect their orthodontist to have this type of treatment. Based on New York Times, in 2000 Invisalign had the “most aggressive consumer advertising plan the dental profession has ever seen.” After that, around 75 percent of orthodontists in the United States were trained how to use the Invisalign system, and later this training was offered to general dentists.