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2021 DEO Fall Summit Inspires Entrepreneur Dentists to Double Down

At the 2021 DEO Fall Summit, “Doubling Down,” the Dentist Entrepreneur Organization’s executive vice president and partner Darin Acopan shares insights into the growing strength of the DSO market and the DEO. 





Amol Nirgudkar, co-founder and CEO of Patient Prism, asks Acopan about the thought process behind titling the fall summit “Doubling Down.”

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate you for scaling Patient Prism just as we’ve scaled DEO,” says Acopan. “We got into this business, each on our own market side, at about the same time. Doubling Down was a collaborative process of the entire DEO leadership team. During the early stage of the pandemic, dental practice business owners had time to think about their business. You had time to think about where you want to take your business. And then shelter in place lifted and everyone is busy doing dentistry again. We thought in this time it is relevant to aim for doubling patient flow. You want to double your EBITDA. You want to double your top line revenue, double your recruitment. It’s been a challenging time to recruit clinical and nonclinical team members. That’s the number one pain.”

At DEO they have constant feedback in their 300-member mastermind group, so it was clear what their members were struggling with and what they wanted to achieve. 

“It's not easy to double,” says Nirgudkar. 

One example of the real-life struggle is Riccobene Associates, whose CEO—Dr. Michael Riccobene, was a speaker during the DEO fall summit. “Michael has grown Riccobene Associates from an emerging group practice to a full-size DSO, taking on private equity, going through the peaks and the valleys, hiring leadership teams, and firing leadership teams,” says Acopan.  

“I know you guys are growing really fast. What's in the store for 2022?” asks Nirgudkar.

“We had leadership. We had systems. We had the media arm and events, but we didn't have true implementation of an operating system to tie all those together. We have added two partners, Dr. Eric Roman and Josalyn Sewall.  And now with that new venture, we are full service,” says Acopan.


“So now you'll be able to not only get people in a room, get the masterminds going, get ideas flowing, but actually to execute those ideas. Now you have the infrastructure to do that,” says Nirgudkar.

“What is it that you're looking to get out of this conference? What do you think that will make it a successful one?” asks Nirgudkar.

“The reality is not all conferences are created equal,” says Acopan. “Dentists can go to about 20 shows a year to build the relationships and knowledge base they need. You get something a little bit different from each of them.”

They are not all DSO-related conferences. At many conferences Patient Prism and DEO are getting the word out to solo practitioners that there is an easier way than going it alone. Dentists need the right partners, and Patient Prism or DEO may or may not be the right partner for any one practice, group, or DSO, but others are the right partners. Going to the meetings and networking enables, dental practice owners and managers to know who can help.


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What can a single location practice or small group expect to get out of this meeting?

“The DEO fall summit is open to the public, and we have some 4th-year dental students here. They are going to get a head start. You are never too young or too old to start thinking about and wanting to grow a DSO,” says Acopan. “You owe it to yourself to educate yourself on the business side of dentistry and where the future of this industry is going.”

“That's what excites me about the DEO,” says Nirgudkar. “Whether you are a single location or dental student, you want to be inspired by this industry that's going to make a big impact on our society over the next several decades. And with the integration of oral health and everything else, I think there is no better time to be in dentistry than today. The DEO really does curate the right people to be under the one roof where you get to meet people who are abundant in spirit, sharing, knowledge, sharing ideas, sharing their successes, sharing their failures. And that's what excites me. I'm not a dental practice. I'm not a DSO, but I come here. And when I attend these sessions, I learn. I take a lot back from my notes. And I'm able to build a better business to support the needs of dental groups of all size.”

Learn more at DeoDentalGroup.com. Dentists can contact the DEO through the website and schedule time with Daron Acopan. “It's nonobligatory. I'll just try to get you pointed in the right direction. If you're not necessarily a fit for our group, I'll try to help you find a group that is. And it's all about paying it forward,” says Acopan.

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