Earlier this week I interviewed Joe Waltman, CEO and co-founder of VetPronto.
VetPronto offers in-home, on-demand veterinary services. So instead of dragging your terrified animal to the vet’s office, a licensed pet doctor comes to you. And it costs about the same amount as a traditional visit.
Back in October of last year, VetPronto successfully raised money on Wefunder, and we recommended the deal to members of First Stage Investor, one of our research services. Since then, it has expanded from two cities to eight and is growing at a healthy clip.
Without further ado, here’s the interview…
Joe: VetPronto is the nation’s largest house call veterinary service. Our mission is to provide the highest quality and most convenient vet care. We are currently active in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Tampa and New Orleans.
Adam: How big is the veterinary care market in the U.S.?
Joe: A total of $17 billion was spent on vet care in the U.S. in 2015; $2 billion of that was on surgical procedures, which are not appropriate in the home… meaning we are attacking a $15 billion market.
Adam: What are the advantages for customers using your service versus taking a traditional vet visit?
Joe: The benefit for the client (i.e. human) is convenience. The benefit for the patient (i.e. dog/cat) is a much less stressful medical experience. These are combined with the fact that house calls cost about the same as going to the clinic.
Adam: What’s your pitch to get veterinarians to join VetPronto?
Joe: We pay them more and give them much more flexibility. We have also noticed that our clients tend to be more concerned about their pets’ health, which is the kind of client that vets love working with.
Adam: Scaling an on-demand network like this can be challenging. How are you rolling out service in multiple cities nationwide?
Joe: As we roll out to additional cities, we are experimenting with different ways to make the vets more self-sufficient. Things like ordering supplies, diagnostic partners, cremation services, pharmacies, etc. are hard to do from a distance. We are building a platform that makes it very easy for the new vets (in other cities) to manage these logistical issues themselves.
Adam: You raised more than $370,000 on Wefunder using Regulation Crowdfunding. How was your experience? Would you recommend equity crowdfunding to other startups?
Joe: We had a great crowdfunding experience. This is mostly due to our funding partner (WeFunder). It made the process of getting set up and running a successful campaign very easy.
VetPronto is a great example of an on-demand startup with big potential. Joe and his team are providing a service that could be extremely disruptive to the current veterinary market. VetPronto is expanding aggressively across the U.S. If you know a veterinarian who might be interested in learning more, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we review opportunities in the on-demand/marketplace space, we look for two key factors. The startup must be…
- Attractive for the service providers: In this case, veterinarians can make more money and set their own hours.
- Attractive for the customer: In this case, it’s more convenient for the pet and its owner.
If either of those pieces is missing, it’s generally not worth looking any further. Fortunately, VetPronto checked both boxes and passed the rest of our diligence process.
Next week, we’re releasing another recommendation on a “network effect” business. It’s in a $250 billion market and has passed our two-factor test easily.
Have a great weekend!
P.S. Our friends at The Oxford Club have invited both Andy and me to speak and lead workshops about startup investing at their annual Investment U Conference this coming March in St. Petersburg, Florida. We’re still finalizing details, but it’s a great conference, and we want to make sure you have all the details. To learn more about the Investment U Conference, click here.