While telemedicine is becoming a “new normal” for humans, TeleVet has been helping four-legged friends and their owners talk to veterinarians virtually for the past five years.
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Enabling it to take its mobile telemedicine application to the next level, the Austin-based company closed a $5 million Series A round of funding Thursday, led by existing investor Mercury Fund, with additional investment by Dundee Venture Capital, Atento Capital, GAN and Urban Capital Network. TeleVet just raised a $2.3 million seed round in December 2019 to give it a total of $7.3 million in funding since forming in 2015.
“TeleVet meets a driving need in the veterinary industry, not only for a complete, end-to-end virtual care platform, but for a tool that fundamentally enhances quality of life for veterinarians,” Mercury Fund co-founder and Managing Director Blair Garrou, said in a written statement.
TeleVet touts itself as being one of the first to have a veterinary telemedicine platform on the market. Fast-forward five years, its network now includes 6,500 veterinarians, Steven Carter, co-founder and CEO of TeleVet, told Crunchbase News.
The platform works with instant messaging, video and phone, as well as allows vets to examine pets, prescribe medications, update electronic health records and bill customers.
The new funding will enable TeleVet to do two things: grow its employee base and accelerate expansion of services around vets and their work-life balance, Carter said.
The company just brought on its 25th employee this week and plans to accommodate for up to 50 employees by the end of the year, he said.
When Carter and Price Fallin started TeleVet in 2015, they initially saw it as a convenience for pet owners. What they learned was there is a bigger opportunity to help veterinarians become more intimate with their customers, while also assisting them with their work-life balance, Carter said.
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported findings for mortality rates by suicide over a 36-year period and found that female veterinarians were 3.5 times as likely to die from suicide as were members of the U.S. general population.
“Traditional off-the-clock consultations lead to emotionally and mentally draining days,” he added. “On top of that, they aren’t being compensated for that time. In a lot of ways, this is contributing to burn out and high suicide rates among veterinarians.”
TeleVet lets practices share the consultation load, creating privacy and paywalls, so that vets aren’t texted at their personal numbers. They can set the price for consultations and even alter it if the case becomes more complicated, Carter said.
In addition, they are researching services to help with work-life balance and education, as well as support to pet owners around challenges they face.
“We want to build healthier relationships between vets and their clients so that both have peace of mind,” Carter said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias