As proud backers of KRY we’ve seen the benefits of telemedicine firsthand. But when we first heard of FirstVet, the digital veterinary clinic for animals, our first reaction was slightly skeptical. I mean, dogs can’t talk, how would that work? (spoil alert: turns out it works 👌)
All jokes aside, we’re strong believers in how technology is changing how we act with medical care, both for people and now with pets. And today we’re proud to announce that Creandum has led a €5.1 million round in FirstVet, the leader in veterinary services via video for a wide range of animals, from cats and dogs to horses and even more exotic animals such as mini pigs, ferrets or spiders. The digitalization of veterinary clinics is coming fast, and FirstVet is paving the way in Europe.
The company saves pets and pet owners from unnecessary and stressful trips to the vet by offering video meetings with veterinarians directly from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Just like your local animal clinic, FirstVet’s veterinarians assist animal owners with advice, diagnosis, referral, and even prescriptions. If in-person care is needed, FirstVet promptly refers sick and injured animals to the nearest and most suitable specialist.
Animal care becoming more human = large and expanding market
We saw a few trends that made FirstVet super interesting:
Pets are family members and demand for their care the is becoming the same as for any family member 🐶+👩👩👦=❤️
My (Sannas) grandfather was a vet and as a child I loved the room in the basement where he had his clinic; it had a bright light with a huge magnifying glass and the shelves were full of glass jars with different types of parasites in them. I also remember a very common part of his job; putting sick pets down. This is still common for vets, of course, but there has been a shift in how much care and efforts are made to cure an animal compared to then.
Maybe it’s all the pet-friendly movies we watched growing up, like 101 Dalmations and Beethoven but for whatever reason, today we don’t treat our dogs like dogs, we treat them like part of our family. This comes with many rewards, but it also means we are much more likely to demand the highest quality care and request professional help at earlier stages then before.
People spend more on their pets 💸
Today people have grown closer and closer to their pets, spending money on everything from organic food, baskets full of toys (According to American Pet Products Association close 70bm USD was spent on pet related products and services in US alone) and in growing numbers, pet insurance.
This last point is one of the key factors why FirstVet plays an important role today. In the past when your dog or cat got sick, you took it to the vet and you left with a bill. While those were simpler times, it also meant you typically had less options and opportunities to foot a large bill. Today pet owners get their insurance company involved when they go to the vet, which allows for you to hedge risk against your pet getting sick, and allows your insurance company to find FirstVet a perfect fit to lower costs by serving more patients or provide a higher level of care at lower cost by referring the animal to the most suitable specialist when needed.
Win for everyone involved 🏆🏆🏆
The consolidation of vet clinics, increased prices, and increasing insurance premiums drives need for this type of service. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved; pets and pet owners get help directly at low cost, insurance companies can save money by getting the right care for the animal in right time (avoid unnecessary visits and/or refer them to the partner appropriate clinic) and vets can an additional source of income and an option for more flexible work.
This is the team to transform veterinary care.
Since launching in 2016, the company has shown an impressive growth month over month, driven in part by building key partnerships with insurance companies who offer FirstVet to their customers for more immediate and cost-effective care. The company has a long history of building partnerships in the pet industry; behind FirstVet are the former founders of VetZoo, Sweden’s leading online store for pet owners.
With his team, CEO David Prien has built up an impressive business with limited resources and they are a key partner for a large number of insurance companies. We looked at similar players across Europe but no one is even close to offering what FirstVet do. They today have agreements with close to 100% of pet insurancers in Sweden, Finland was recently launched and the company has it’s sight on Europe. (Yes, they are hiring, get in touch here)
We’re big believers in telemedicine and knew that a great team like FirstVet would do for veterinary care what KRY did for telemedicine. There are a lot of similarities between the two, but one advantage is that animal care is a lot less regulated than human care, which allows FirstVet to expand into new geographies quicker. Also the fact that payments are settled either out-of-pocket or via insurance companies makes scaling less complicated.
As a bonus, this investment has allowed us to use more puppy GIFs than ever before. And seriously, who doesn’t like a cute puppy?