INVISALIGN:ORTHODONTICS UNWIREDKEL032 Chishti’s academic background in computer science gave him the insight that it was possible to design and manufacture an entire series of clear orthodontic devices similar to the retainer he had worn using three-dimensional computer graphics technology. He and Wirth, who had a professional background in environmental consulting and investment banking, started Align Technology in March 1997 to realize this vision. Neither Chishti nor Wirth had previous experience in orthodontics. (See Exhibit 2for founder profiles.) Align’s business objective was to establish the Invisalign System as the standard method for treating orthodontic malocclusion. The system was marketed solely for adults and teens with mature dentition.1It was distributed only through orthodontists in the United States and Canada, with plans to aggressively market the system in selected international markets. The firm that led Align Technology’s first round of financing was Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers of Menlo Park, California, the same venture capital firm that had initially funded Amazon.com, Genentech, and Netscape. General partner Joe Lacob was initially skeptical because the founders were relatively inexperienced, but decided after only 15 minutes of hearing the pitch to invest in the idea. In the three years between August 1997 and August 2000, Align raised more than $140 million in private capital. On January 26, 2001, Align began trading on the NASDAQ National Market with an initial public offering of 10,000,000 shares of common stock. The company was headquartered in Santa Clara, California. This location housed the approximately 450 employees who performed the company’s preproduction, customer support, software engineering, and administrative functions. Six hundred employees worked in two facilities in Lahore, Pakistan, where much of the computer imaging and simulation manufacturing took place. The production of aligners was outsourced to a factory in Mexico.