Consumer VC Backs Tongue Cleaner Famous for its Viral Videos

Tongue-brushing isn’t currently part of most people’s personal hygiene routines. But if a startup from the Beehive State has its way, the practice could be as common as popping a breath mint.

Orabrush, a  Provo, Utah-based developer of a dedicated brush for cleaning the surface of the tongue, has made a mission out of using humor (and its Morgan the tongue mascot) to convince consumers that its product can do a superior job of eliminating bad breath than mints or mouthwash.

Last year, it launched a YouTube video (posted below) that became something of a pop phenomenon, featuring a halitosis-phobic man scraping his tongue with a spoon and smelling its residue. The video ends with a sales pitch for Orabrush. The company, which has launched several more videos since then, estimates that its clips have been viewed more than 25 million times, which is not bad in comparison to Isaiah Mustafa and the Old Spice ad campaign.

All that viral online attention has helped Orabrush garner the attention of investors. Last week, Orabrush closed an early stage funding round of an undisclosed size from 2X Consumer Growth Partners, a Chicago-based fund that invests in consumer product startups.

For Orabrush, the viral success of its video campaign has also generated some sales. Orabrush COO Neal Harmon says that the company has sold about $1.25 million worth of its brushes over the Internet and is in the process of expanding into more retail locations. The brushes sell as two-packs online for $7.99 and have a suggested retail price of $4.49 in stores.

2X Managing Partner Andy Whitman says that the firm found Orabrush appealing because it represents an opportunity to carve out a new niche in the crowded oral hygiene market.

“We love category creators, because categories are what tend to revolutionize things and create real value,” he says. “They take a lot of work and they’re hard and many of them don’t work, but we believe this has tremendous promise.”

2X Consumer’s website says that its focus is on food and beverages, personal care products, home care, pet care and other branded consumer lines. The firm’s other investments include gDiapers, which makes eco-friendly diapers, and Tasty Bite, which produces off-the-shelf Indian foods.

In addition to Whitman, the firm includes Managing Partner Gary Sebek, a former CEO and CFO in various organic businesses, and the firm counts Michael Levinthal as a special limited partner. Levinthal is a former 20-year veteran of Mayfield Fund and invested in such consumer brands as Pete’s Wicked Ale and restaurant chain Il Fornaio.

Levinthal is also a member of the Orabrush board.

VCJ subscribers can read more about Orabrush and other recent early stage deals by clicking here.