- Seattle’s Felix&Fido emerged from stealth mode Thursday with $4 million in pre-seed funding from PSL Ventures and Rover.
- The startup is led by a former U.S. Military infantry captain and Expedia operations government.
- It goals to deal with the veterinarian scarcity through subscription-based pet care with telemedicine, in-clinic, and at-home providers.
A brand new Seattle startup backed by Rover needs to take a chew of the rising pet care business and handle a reported veterinary scarcity.
Seattle startup Felix&Fido emerged from stealth mode Thursday, saying a $4 million pre-seed spherical led by PSL Ventures and Rover to spice up the rollout of its subscription-based pet care providers.
The funding from pet sitting big Rover is a vote of confidence within the nascent firm that goals to supply telemedicine, in-clinic, and at-home providers, relying on a pet’s wants.
Every pet care possibility exists in some kind at different firms, however the skill to package deal all of them beneath a single membership providing is a novel idea in pet care, mentioned CEO Gavin Woody, who spoke with Startup from Alaska after ending a 300-mile race on skis.
Woody is a former U.S. Military infantry captain who parachuted into Iraq at first of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He graduated from West Level with a level in mechanical engineering in 1999, then obtained a MBA from Stanford in 2007.
Woody was a advisor at McKinsey and Co., and labored at Expedia, A Place For Mother, and most lately Porch, the Seattle-based dwelling enchancment market.
Each of Woody’s dad and mom are veterinarians: his mom tended to smaller animals and his father targeted on bigger ones. He additionally co-owns a cattle ranch in an unincorporated city named after his great-great grandfather, Woody, in California.
“Animals have been in my blood my complete life,” mentioned Woody, a pet father or mother to 2 cats (Amelia and Jamba) and a bearded dragon (Cactus).
The pandemic induced a surge in pet possession, with greater than 23 million pets adopted by Individuals through the pandemic, or about one in 5 family. This worsened an current scarcity of veterinary employees. A report by Mars Veterinary Well being discovered that just about 41,000 extra veterinarians might be wanted by 2030 to fulfill demand.
Trade consolidation and the ensuing economies of scale squeezed veterinarians into shorter session occasions, resulting in a reported decline in service high quality. Woody mentioned the appointment period for his mom’s vet work was lowered in half, from 40 to twenty minutes.
Felix&Fido’s multi-layer mannequin goals to deal with these ache factors by attracting veterinarians and minimizing operational prices. Right here’s the way it works:
- The startup can protect clinic capability for procedures by providing at-home providers for minor operations like nail trims.
- Digital appointments let the corporate deal with primary check-ups, pre-screenings, and follow-ups, extending the vary of shoppers it will possibly service. This additionally attracts a set of veterinarians who need to make money working from home.
- It could possibly seize the worth of enormous procedures with its brick-and-mortar areas, serving to enhance income.
The 16-person startup sells three membership tiers primarily based on the variety of consultations and different care: Entry ($176 per yr), Important ($446) and Enhanced ($653).
The corporate invested closely in its shopper and veterinarian-facing tech. The aim is to create a pet care expertise just like One Medical, the first care firm lately acquired by Amazon, Woody mentioned.
“We consider Felix&Fido’s mannequin represents a significant breakthrough for an business in pressing want of innovation,” Geoff Entress, managing director of PSL Ventures and Felix&Fido board member, mentioned in an announcement.
The corporate plans to open its first clinic in Issaquah, Wash., in Might. Its cell nurse unit is already serving a number of Seattle-area cities.
Felix&Fido’s launch comes at a time when persons are spending extra on their pets. From 2013 to 2021, the common annual family spending on pets rose from $460 to $770, up 67%, in response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 33% improve in pet healthcare service spending is anticipated over the subsequent decade, in response to the Mars report.
A few third of the $120 billion pet business is made up of the veterinary house, Woody mentioned.
“There’s an enormous shift to the humanization of pets — persons are shifting from pet house owners to pet dad and mom,” he mentioned, noting that veterinarians are on the middle of the development.
Woody teamed up with CTO Ian Ma, who beforehand held technical management roles at eBay, Amazon and Seattle startup Tribute; and Shlomo Freiman, chief veterinary officer who has been a practising veterinarian for almost three a long time. He’s additionally an inventor with two veterinary tech-related patents.
Rover has solely made one startup funding beforehand, main a $7 million spherical in DogHero, a Latin America pet care market.
Requested if the corporate plans to implement or market the service on the platform, a spokesperson mentioned it has no day-to-day administration involvement with Felix&Fido.
Rover co-founder and board member Greg Gottesman is the managing director at Pioneer Sq. Labs. Gottesman helped spark the thought for Rover at a Startup Weekend occasion in Seattle in 2011.
Felix&Fido will compete towards giants similar to Vancouver, Wash.-based Banfield, which sells subscriptions and operates greater than 1,000 hospitals.
There are a number of newer startups with the aim of modernizing veterinary care, together with Trendy Animal, Small Door, Bond Vet and Pet People.