The adoption of telemedicine services for humans during the global pandemic has also trickled down to our four-legged friends.
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Swedish startup FirstVet is expanding its on-demand video consultation platform in the United States after securing a $35 million financing round.
Mubadala Capital led the round with participation from Cathay Innovation, as well as existing backers, OMERS Ventures 1 and Creandum. Since its inception in 2016, FirstVet has raised a total of $65 million in funding, including an approximately $22 million Series B round in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
Using some of the new round, FirstVet established a U.S. presence with 14 staff members in New York to care for the 184 million cats and dogs there, David Prien, FirstVet co-founder and CEO told Crunchbase News. It offers its video-based vet consultation service in all 50 states, including 24/7 expert advice and diagnoses for a variety of different animals, ranging from cats and dogs to horses and reptiles.
Prien, who has been involved in the veterinary and pet space for the past 12 years, started out by providing a content-driven website for pet stores.
“That worked tremendously well and became popular, though it never converted to e-commerce as we had hoped,” he said. “We created similar content for FirstVet, but we have full-time vets hired to answer the questions that are coming in.”
He sees virtual veterinary visits as a “super nascent field” in Europe to address the 20 percent year-over-year increase in average price of vet visits. It also increased the insurance penetration. People who had insurance for their pets were taking them to the vet all the time, but those who didn’t were reluctant to seek vet care because of the cost, he added.
Testing that format led to FirstVet, which Prien describes as a mix of triage and telemedicine, a space that has gained investor attention recently. The Crunchbase database shows that in the past two years, just over 100 startups working in the veterinary space have received more than $2.6 billion in funding.
Investments in the past few months, according to our database, include:
- Bond Vet’s $17 million Series A;
- FidoCure’s $10 million Series A; and
- BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ $1.5 million venture round.
In the last 12 months, the company’s revenue grew approximately 2.5 times, Prien said. In addition, its workforce has grown to 60 employees in addition to its approximately 250 staff veterinarians.
Meanwhile, FirstVet operates within six markets, including the Nordics, Germany and the
United Kingdom, partnering with more than 40 insurance companies across Europe. Next year, it will launch in Canada and France.
“After this round, the stars really aligned and we have been able to bring on partners with deep market knowledge and exposure,” Prien said. “The rush now is having the right partners and the right positioning given where we stand.”
Photo of David Prien and Per Victor courtesy of FirstVet.
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman