To begin with, we truly hope everyone is hanging in there. If you’re near fires we hope you are safe. If you’re teaching your kids at home, we hope you are finding time to exhale. For all of us missing friends, family, love ones, we hope you’re finding meaningful ways to connect.
At RYCA, we too are homeschooling our children, keeping a close eye on fire evacuation warnings, and missing loved ones. These are incredibly challenging times. Countless companies are struggling to navigate; many doors have sadly and understandably shuttered. You have backed a company with a mission and drive to succeed. We believe better oral care is essential and that with your help, we can provide game-changing and lifesaving solutions. When COVID first shut down much of the nation, we moved our engineering labs into our homes. When many were losing their jobs, we had the honor of hiring. We now have a team of 7 engineers working innovatively together. We have a marketing team, researchers, scientists, and have expanded our dental advisory board. With your support RYCA’s doors remain open. I have said countless times: It takes a village. We cherish our growing community, now nearing 6,000 strong (including Indiegogo backers).
We’re excited to provide some product development updates:
There are essentially two separate engineering/manufacturing efforts happening simultaneously: The Encompass brush HANDLE & the Encompass brush HEAD.
The handle is comprised of dozens of precision pieces, including the motor, diaphragm, PCB, light indicator and unique head coupling system.
After months of around the clock work, the handle is in the very last stages of engineering and the heavy lifting is shifting to our world-class manufacturing partners. This is a major milestone. The “tech” and sophistication of the handle has exceeded my very high standards. I’m incredibly proud of our engineers who have designed a world class handle.
TIMELINE: It is still possible our brush handles will be manufactured, safety tested and ready to go by December. But there are so many uncertainties. Potential COVID delays with tooling. Potential COVID related delays in shipping of the various components that must make their way to our manufacturer. Potential delays that may arise from any safety testing issues which must be resolved prior to shipping.
HANDLE CONCLUSION: December is possible, but delays into Q1of 2021 are likely. Far less likely, but possible, would be delays into Q2 of 2021.
The Brush Head:
Our patented air-driven system does make our brush handle unique, but the “special sauce” of Encompass has always been the one-of-a-kind J-shaped brush head. I mentioned in the last update that we were in the process of conducting precision tests on each element of the brush head, including bristle material selection, size, angle and force. Each of these components must work in parallel with the material selection for the brush head walls, which themselves must be tested and optimized for flexibility/adjustability. As our head engineer always says, “The devil is in the details.” We are still testing. No one is more excited to get Encompass in your hands, but these critical steps can’t be rushed. Our team is studying and mapping each and every variation of male and female teeth/mouth sizes across all ethnicities and taking into consideration malocclusions and gag reflexes, and this data is synced with our test results on flexibility/adjustability of the brush head. Like fashion, fit and comfort are key to our success, and we have to get this right. We are getting close. Once we finalize each of these critical components, the brush head development will shift from engineering to manufacturing.
TIMELINE: Because we haven’t yet shifting to manufacturing, it’s probably fair to say the brush head is a bit behind the brush handle. The various potential delays describe above also hold true for the brush head. Having said that, depending on what final material selection proves most effective, we may have some opportunities to “make up” some manufacturing time and actually catch up to the brush handle efforts.
HEAD CONCLUSION: While there is an outside chance December is doable, Q1 of 2021 is far more likely. Again far less likely, but possible, would be delays into Q2 of 2021.
NEW IP: Our robust testing is not only paving the way for optimal brush design; it is also revealing new IP opportunities. In addition to our existing patents, our engineers are working with our patent attorneys to file additional IP around our one-of-a-kind brush head.
MARKETING: We have hired an incredible CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), Mike Isaac (https://www.linkedin.com/in/isaacmike/). A quick search will reveal Mike brings the perfect combination of big brand experience (Jack Daniels), along with mission driven work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We are truly fortunate to welcome Mike to our team.
OTHER RECENT HIRES: Our head engineer, Jerry Brewer, has recently added more former Sonicare and Clarisonic engineers, further establishing our team as having truly unparalleled brush design experience.
Thank you for sticking with me through this long update, and much more importantly, sticking with RYCA. We are building this toothbrush, and this company with you and for you.
Ryan and The Entire RYCA Team