Welcome to SMILE Health

CareQuest Innovation Partners and MATTER logos

SMILE Health asks: How can we provide accessible, equitable, and integrated oral health care?

Does your startup offer solutions that address this challenge?

2022 taught us that we have something to SMILE about!
We are expanding on our success and looking for more innovators
driven to address how oral health plays a role in overall health. CareQuest Innovation Partners, a company focused on validating
and scaling solutions that improve the oral health of all, in partnership with MATTER, the premier health care incubator, and innovation hub, present the second cohort of SMILE Health.

SMILE Health is designed for innovators looking beyond
the walls of traditional clinical settings to provide care options that:

• Expand racial, socioeconomic, and geographical equity and;

• Integrate solutions to better align traditional “medical” treatment
and oral health to improve health outcomes.

In our second year, the program offers startups a unique blend of mentoring, an in-depth curriculum with access to top-tier experts, and most importantly the chance to prove their solution via access to data and clinical validation studies.

Are you a health care organization interested in innovation?

Are you an investor looking to support cutting-edge startups?

Join Us!

2022 Partners


SMILE Health brings together industry-leading organizations
to tran
sform oral health

A select group of industry-leading organizations partner with CareQuest Innovation for the SMILE Health program, to advance cutting-edge, integrated solutions and transform overall health. Learn how you can participate in the program.

Learn More

Systemic Health Needs to Be…


More than 56 million Americans live without access to a dental professional. When someone doesn’t have proper access to oral health, it is much more difficult to deliver preventive, minimally invasive care, which ultimately increases the cost for patients, providers, and payors.


The current state of our oral health system disproportionately impacts traditionally underserved and under-resourced people. Black and Hispanic adults report that they have never been to a dentist at 3x the rate of white adults.


Oral health is linked to overall health. Many patients are willing to receive services like vaccine administration, blood pressure checks, or other screenings at their dentist. We should create a pathway where primary care physicians take part in oral health. Furthermore, co-location and expanded services like cancer screenings could help bring about more holistic, patient-centered care.

Benefits of Participation

SMILE Health program participants will:

  • Engage with other cutting-edge startups
  • Network with peers, investors, and leading influencers
  • Gain exposure to the CareQuest Innovation Partners and MATTER communities
  • Validate their solution with oral health stakeholders
  • Collaborate with and learn from CareQuest Innovation
    Partners and their network
  • Pitch to potential investors, partners, and clients at Stakeholder Day
  • Pitch to industry influencers and investors at a public Demo Day
  • Receive a six-month MATTER membership
  • Receive a non-dilutive $10,000 cash stipend

Who should apply?

CareQuest Innovation Partners and MATTER are seeking early-stage startups that are looking for access to data sources, solution validation, customer feedback, and more.

The SMILE Health program is open to global solutions across all disciplines. If your product does not currently have an oral health focus, you can still apply as long as there is a potential use case for oral health. Read the
SMILE Health FAQ for more information.

Download the FAQs PDF
Apply Now

Submission Process

Applications open on March 13 and close at 11:59 p.m. ET on May 5.

The teams at MATTER and CareQuest Innovation Partners will select up to 10 applicants to determine their fit for participation in the program. CareQuest Innovation Partners’ stakeholders will select at least five teams to move on to SMILE Health which will begin on June 12.

The SMILE Health Program will run from June 12 to September 1. Participants will give presentations at Stakeholder Day the week of September 18 and Demo Day the week of October 8.

See who's affected by gaps in Oral Health

Meet Last Year’s Cohort (2022)

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SMILE Health Partners

The true success of any innovative solution is its adoption at scale. SMILE Health has brought together leading industry players to validate and scale program solutions. Our Impact and Scale Partners validate solutions to make them market-ready and provide capital and access to their customers.


Impact Partners

Impact Partners contribute:

  • The opportunity to test and refine SMILE Health solutions, their business models, and product market fit.
  • Real-world problems to solve by designing and steering validation studies with select start-ups.

Resources, access to insights, expertise, and support in a 4- to 6-week validation study. Impact Partners receive:

  • Early access to the full pipeline of SMILE Health Solutions.
  • The opportunity to select high-quality, relevant solutions to work with.
  • Early access to deploy validated solutions.

Impact Partners: Validate solutions by helping test, refine, and fine-tune business models, product concepts, and more.

Deadline to apply: April 21, 2023

Become an Impact Partner

Scale Partners

Scale Partners contribute:

  • Access to potential customers and go-to-market partners.
  • Capital to select start-ups that meet their investment criteria.

Scale Partners receive:

  • Demo Day access and first look at graduating ventures.
  • Exceptional opportunity to provide seed capital to validated start-ups.
  • Early access to deploy validated solutions.

Scale Partners: Help with investment, access to customers, collaborators, and more.

Deadline to apply: June 20, 2023

Become a Scale Partner


  • Reviewers: Review innovation challenge submissions
    Deadline to apply: May 1, 2023
  • Mentors: Be matched with a startup in the program and engage weekly for 12 weeks
    Deadline to apply: May 1, 2023
  • Faculty: Lead workshops and sessions during our startup program
    Deadline to apply: May 1, 2023

If you are interested in learning more about any of these opportunities
to support the SMILE Health program, please contact samantha@matter.health

About CareQuest Innovation

At CareQuest Innovation Partners, we are creating the future we want to see. We share a mission with our nonprofit parent, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, to improve oral health for all. We support this mission by validating and scaling transformative solutions to improve overall health through oral health.

  • Validate. We apply hypothesis-driven testing and clinical evidence to evaluate and propel high-impact, mission-aligned concepts and new solutions
  • Scale. We anticipate barriers to adoption and provide the insight, connections, resources, and capital for validated concepts to maximize their reach and measurably improve people’s lives


At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve health care.

The MATTER collaborative includes more than 300 cutting-edge startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities, and industry-leading companies to build the future of health care. Together, we are accelerating innovation, advancing care, and improving lives.

For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth