Nineteen years ago, a group of laser and optical engineers founded CUTERA, a global leader in energy-based aesthetic solutions known for its innovative approach to technological development and commitment to helping physicians exceed the expectations of their clients.
Headquartered in Brisbane, California, the company designs, develops, manufactures, and markets solutions such as enlighten™ for tattoo and pigmentation removal, excel HR™ and excel V™ for laser hair removal , and truSculpt® body sculpting technology. CUTERA partners with physicians, developing products for them that will ultimately help to keep their practices competitive.
“We work with practitioners to help their patients look good and feel good. Our customer base is primarily dermatologists, as well as plastic surgeons. We work with a number of other specialties, from primary care facilities to OBGYNs, and other physicians looking for different resources for income outside their own practice,” explains James Reinstein, President and CEO.
Reinstein joined the CUTERA team earlier this year, and has exciting plans for the company’s future that will build on its promising start.
Soon after launching in the late 90s, CUTERA entered the aesthetics market with the CoolGlide® CV system: laser hair removal technology that could effectively treat any skin tone. In the early days of laser technology, it could only safely be used on fair skin with dark hair. CUTERA’s solution was an industry first that expanded the market for physicians, who were then able to offer the treatment to more patients.
From then on, the company continued its legacy of developing a variety of groundbreaking laser solutions in different categories.
For example, developing effective tattoo removal technology is challenging, because ink particles come in many different sizes and colors. CUTERA rose to the challenge. Launched in 2014, the enlighten™ platform was the first in the world to use ultra-short pulse durations and dual technology of both shorter wavelength picoseconds and longer wavelength nanoseconds. This provided an impressive solution for tattoo removal, as well as acne scarring, pigmentation, and sun damage.
enlighten™ is higher powered than its competitors and uses a broader range for spot-size selection to safely and effectively treat tattoos and pigmentation issues on all skin types. The skin brightening treatment maximizes treatment choices for doctors when addressing a particular tattoo or pigmentation, so they can better customize the treatment to the needs of the patient.
Last December, CUTERA introduced an upgrade, enlighten™ 3, to the market. “The ‘3’ stands for the third wavelength. So we now have a system out there providing both picoseconds and nanosecond technology with three different wavelengths. It allows physicians to do procedures much faster, remove the tattoos in fewer sessions, and be that much more efficient in their practice,” says Reinstein.
Another such new innovation is CUTERA’s truSculpt® 3D, released last May. truSculpt® (targeted, repeatable and uniform) is a multidimensional approach to body sculpting that evenly applies therapeutic temperatures to the subcutaneous adipose tissue to achieve the highest clinical efficacy in the shortest possible treatment time. Once the fat is destroyed, it is gone forever from that area.
With CUTERA’s new upgrade, physicians are able to select a radiofrequency between one and two megahertz (while the older model was set at 1 MHz), allowing for penetration of tissue to deeper layers in order to permanently destroy adipose tissue, leading to a reduction in circumference of well over 20 percent. The physician can monitor the temperature on the skin such that it maintains a comfortable level, while increasing the temperature on the fat to about three degrees more than on the skin.
This new equipment offers uniform fat reduction results in a one-hour procedure with no downtime, making it the perfect option for patients with busier lifestyles, as well as busier physicians managing high booking rates.
“If you ask doctors in the field, they’ll tell you that CUTERA reaches out to them to ask them what will make an ideal product. We build systems with the physician’s needs in mind. We have very strong collaborations within the community,” explains Marina Kamenakis, Vice President of Global Marketing.
CUTERA’s focus on helping practitioners succeed extends even beyond its products. CUTERA has created the CUTERA University Clinical Forum (CUCF), an annual event to educate users on the equipment and discuss techniques and experiences.
The CUCF’s next panel will be held this October in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Leading experts will share their clinical insights to help practitioners stay ahead in the industry. Examples include real case studies on hair, tattoo and pigmentation removal, and advice to help users get the most out of their CUTERA devices for their patients. MDs will exchange ideas on the podium and discuss how to address treatments for certain patients. The panel will also discuss effective marketing tips and patient consultations to build attendees’ practices.
“This is really giving back to our customers. It is an opportunity for our customers to learn tips and techniques from experts in the field. We have partnered with some of the most well-known leaders in the industry to teach the course. I met a customer coming to the event this October, and they were very excited about how much they can learn from the program to provide better treatment for their patients and optimize their results,” says Kamenakis.
CUTERA also hosts several workshops for aesthetic medicine practitioners all over the United States. As physicians continue to advance their practices, Reinstein also has an outlined approach to grow CUTERA to meet new demands, which the leadership team and board of directors firmly believe the company can accomplish. His “3-4-5 approach” is projected to triple CUTERA’s revenue and quadruple the stock price, all within five years.
“Basically what we need to do, because we can’t really control the stock prices, is to control the growth,” he says. “There are a lot of variables, but what we can control is the revenue and operating income.”
Reinstein’s three-pronged approach should have CUTERA earning $360 million in revenue by 2021. The first step involves maintaining sales in North America and increasing CUTERA’s number of sales representatives, adding about $80 million in growth. “We want to grow our organization from 58 reps at the end of 2015 to about 120 reps by 2021. Basically, adding a net of 12 sales reps per year for each of the next five years—that means we need about 70 by the end of this year,” says Reinstein.
Second, CUTERA will increase its international customer base, adding another $80 million in revenue. To do this, CUTERA will focus on geographic expansion at a growth rate of just over 20 percent for each of the next four years. CUTERA will market to regions where it currently doesn’t sell, such as Latin America, and focus on selling more products in regions where it currently has a presence, such as the Middle East, where it sells just one platform as of now—there are four other platforms it could sell.
CUTERA will also focus on selling in Europe and Asia. “We have a growing market in front of us and a lot of opportunity. We’re excited,” says Kamenakis.
Lastly, CUTERA will launch its much anticipated hands-free truSculpt® platform at the end of this year, adding the final $80 million in growth. The new platform will not require a technician to operate a hand piece, making the convenient, zero-downtime procedure even more efficient.
CUTERA’s growth trajectory should result in a quadrupled stock price for the public company, going from below $17 or $18 dollars, into the $70–80 dollar range per share.
“There has been a lot of consolidation and a lot of mergers and acquisitions, to the point where CUTERA is pretty much the only publicly traded, multiplatform, energy-based laser aesthetics company that hasn’t been acquired. Because of our growth trajectory and what we can do, we have no interest in being acquired, but all of the M&A activity has created an opportunity for us because it is entirely disruptive to be acquired and integrated into a large company,” Reinstein tells us.
As CUTERA continues to grow and develop new industry technology for its expanding market, it will need to add to its sales team in order to meet current goals for growth, as outlined in step 1 of Reinstein’s 3-4-5 plan.
Those seeking a sales career in the laser aesthetics solutions field need not feel reluctant to apply due to a lack of insider experience. When looking for new recruits to the company’s sales team, Reinstein remarks that he actually prefers to hire outside of the industry.
“The main reason for that is the sales reps who want to jump from one laser company to another are usually not the salespeople you want representing your products. We focus on hiring outside the industry and training them with good habits, rather than having them show up with the bad ones. There’s a great process that the sales leadership has put together. It starts with how they do the first interview, all the way through how they train that rep until they are productive, which is usually after about nine months.”
By increasing its sales representatives and global customer base, as well as continuing to launch new, innovative products while refining its current models, CUTERA will remain a trusted partner for medical aesthetics practitioners, enabling them to deliver impressive results to the end consumer while staying competitive in their own practices.
“We really focus on the physician’s ability to get a return on their investment. Our machines are higher-end and it’s important for us that they operate efficiently and effectively, so that physicians have a steady revenue stream for their practice. Over the many years that our company has been around, physicians have come to rely on our products doing just that,” states Reinstein.