Gryphon Investors launches new dental services platform

Private equity firm taps former portfolio company executives to lead acquisition effort in the fragmented dental services practice industry

Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco private equity firm, has launched its newest dental services platform OneSmile LLC with a pair of senior industry executives and backstopped the company with $100 million for acquisitions, Gryphon president Nick Orum told Private Equity International.

“We believe there's an attractive opportunity to pursue the creation of a leading DSO (dental services organization) in the western US,” said Orum, “We expect to complete our initial acquisitions before year end. Steve and Brad have excellent relationships and credibility within the [dental practice] industry.

Gryphon appointed Steven Bilt and Bradley Schmidt to serve as CEO and CFO of OneSmile, respectively. The private equity group knows the executives well; the pair oversaw the growth of former Gryphon portfolio company Smile Brands Inc. and its predecessor company from the late 1990s throughout the mid-2000 time period. During that time, Bilt and Schmidt grew the company's locations to more than 250 and its revenues to over $350 million before Gryphon exited the business in 2005 (Bilt, formerly president of the Association of Dental Support Organizations, and Schmidt remained with the company after Gryphon exited and further grew its revenue base to more than $500 million in sales), according to Gryphon.

Orum declined to specify what Gryphon fund was backing OneSmile, but noted its healthcare investment group led the firm's new dental services platform formation.

The new platform was announced just days after Gryphon sold well known western apparel retailer Sheplers Inc. of Wichita, Kan., after an eight year hold period,  to publicly traded Boot Barn Holdings Inc.

Gryphon typically invests $35 to $100 million in companies generating annual revenues of $50 million to $400 million.