Startups

Scratchpay Raises $6.4M To Help Humans Pay Their Vet Bills

Scratchpay, a fintech company focused on veterinary care, has raised a $6.4 million Series A announced today. The round was led by Companion Fund, a pet-care focused investment arm which was launched by Mars Petcare and is managed by New York-based Digitalis Ventures. Other participants in the Series A included TTV Capital, Struck Capital, and SWS Venture Capital, according to the company. This round brings Scratchpay’s known aggregate funds raised to $8.1 million.

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Founded in 2016 by John Keatley and Caleb Morse, Scratchpay aims to bring financial technology to veterinary care through its financial assistance platform. If you own a dog, a cat, a tortoise, or any other animal, you know that pet care can be very pricey, costing even thousands of dollars depending on the type of care your pet needs. Through partnerships with veterinary offices, Scratchpay offers payment plans to individuals who may not be able to pay those vet bills up-front.

Scratchpay’s platform allows individuals with vet bills from $200 to $10,000 to apply for payment plans. If approved, applicants view and choose between various Scratchpay payment and interest options. Once the plan is set, the vet receives a confirmation email and Scratchpay pays the clinic through direct deposit.

The approval process does not affect individuals’ credit scores, and it is based on a data and artificial intelligence-powered lending algorithm, according to the company’s press release.

“We have built a proprietary underwriting model that incorporates multiple proprietary and third party data sources specific to the animal health industry,” CEO John Keatley told Crunchbase News in an email. “For example, we are the only lender that incorporates information about the pet and the procedure being performed into lending decisions.”

Scratchpay itself makes money on interest—determined on a case-by-case basis—and with a 5 percent cut on all transactions that it handles. As Scratchpay pays the vet clinic the approved amount up front and takes full responsibility for pet owners’ payments, this process potentially mitigates the risk-assessment problem vets (and pet-owners) often face in care provision.

According to the L.A.-based company, Scratchpay has a team of “25 (humans) and growing” and has partnered with over 2,000 veterinary hospitals around the U.S. Keatley told Crunchbase News that the company will be using its new capital to build more partnerships at home and to expand internationally. Furthermore, the company will invest in the technology driving its platform.

“Our near-term goals include establishing Scratchpay as a trusted brand and partner to veterinary clinics across the country. We are also working on forming partnerships with the largest companies in the industry to further our growth,” Keatley wrote in his email.

Owning a pet, while rewarding and comforting, is a huge financial and time-consuming responsibility. Even so, there are tech companies aiming to capitalize on that struggle while helping lighten the burden and improving the lives of pets (and humans) in the future.

iStockPhoto / titiya

Editorial Note: A previous version of this article stated that Scratchpay offered payment plans for vet bills between $2000 and $10000 it has since been updated. It also noted that Scratchpay offers a 5% – 26% interest rates, that has been redacted — the company offers 0% APR.