Shining Light Company – Align Technologies

This week’s Shining Light Company has exploded onto the scene in the past two decades, not only in producing profits but also in reputation as a philanthropic company. Align Technologies (Symbol: ALGN) is the leader in clear aligner technologies for straightening crooked teeth. Headquartered in San Jose, CA, they are best known for their Invisalign treatment, which has now been used by over 4 million patients in over 90 countries.  Invisalign is a teeth-straightening system that doesn’t require braces or brackets and is the preferred alternative to traditional braces, especially for adults. Since the company went public in 2001, it reached $1 billion in sales in 2016, while also employing over 6,000 people that same year. Align reached a major milestone in 2017 by providing Invisalign treatment to their 5-millionth patient. Not only is Align a leader in the invisible aligner sector, but the company has also led the dental technology industry with the introduction of the iTero Element scanner, a mechanism used for x-rays of teeth in 3D.

This company was founded by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth in 1997, who sought to develop the first clear aligners. They then received FDA clearance to market their first Invisalign system in 1998. They went public on the Nasdaq Stock Market on January 26, 2001. In 2001, the company acquired the Israeli company Cadent for $190 million. Cadent created and manufactures intraoral cameras that included 3D scanners. The pairing has allowed Align to grow even further. Align has played an active role in research and development in dentistry and orthodontics. In 2018, Align pledged to give $300,000 to researchers at universities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific. These awards are given to doctors all around the world to help fund their research in developing even better dental treatments.

By way of giving back, Align Technologies pledged to donate $1 million to Operation Smile to celebrate their continued business success. Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that brings much-needed dental care to children around the world born with cleft lip or cleft palate. The initiative and partnership began with a social media campaign, where Align stated that each post on social media using the hashtag “#4millionsmiles” would be matched with a $1 donation, up to $1 million. This led to people sharing pictures of their new smile, courtesy of Align, while also smiling at the idea of helping a child get necessary care for their teeth. Align has shown a clear commitment to a good cause and remains a supporter of Operation Smile. For more information on Align’s commitment to philanthropy, check out these resources:

Not only does Align help children around the world get medical care, they also clearly value people over profits. Align offers employees generous incentive-based compensation and extensive benefit packages. One employee reported being able to get the glasses and contacts she needed at no out-of-pocket cost. Employees also receive exclusive discounts on Align products, such as Invisalign. Align also agrees to help employees plan for their retirement through generous 401(k) plan matching and education. Employees further cite Align’s excellent career opportunities and compensation. They stated that the fast pace of innovation has led to a strong culture and an exciting future.

Align Technologies has positioned itself as a clear leader (pun intended) of innovation in dental technologies. While providing superior products and services, the company has leveraged their success to make a significant difference in the world. By taking great care of their own people, Align has further demonstrated that living out the Golden Rule is indeed the right way to do business. For these reasons, we are pleased to name Align Technologies as this month’s Shining Light Company!


DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.