Tom Prescott

President and CEO / Align Technology

Making room for growth

Tom Prescott ’92 builds Align Technology into
a market disruptor with Invisalign

Problems of growth can be the most exciting for a new business. For dental device company Align Technology, a rocky initial public offering on the NASDAQ was evidence of a misaligned approach to growth — one that president and CEO Tom Prescott was brought on to correct. Now, with quarterly revenues approaching $200 million and continued strong year-over-year growth, Align is becoming a leader in the dental-device industry.

But the road to success was not easy. Following its IPO in 2001, Align faced numerous challenges, including very high investor expectations. Knowing they needed new ideas and more experienced leadership, the company’s board brought in Tom Prescott as CEO, who wasted no time in finding avenues to growth and a path to profitability.

"What I saw was a great opportunity with talented people and a very disruptive emerging technology," he said. "We rallied the management team to focus on fewer, more important priorities and were able to advance the business substantially."

Align’s main product is Invisalign, an alternative to braces for the treatment of malocclusion, or crooked teeth. Initially backed by the same venture capital firm that funded Amazon, Align sold investors on its potential to redefine treatment for this condition, which affects 60 to 70 percent of the U.S. population, yet had not advanced far beyond early 20th century practices.

Having treated more than 2 million patients, and supporting customers and their patients in more than 45 countries, Align is delivering on its promise. "We’re a young company. We still have more of a startup mentality," Prescott said. "We see the opportunity for the very long term to become a standard of care in orthodontics and a leader in digital dentistry."

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