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Home veterinary care company reports 147% growth, expands to Nashville
Readivet is backed by local venture capital firm, Martin Ventures
Many pandemic winners saw their sales go to the dogs. Not all consumers who purchased a Peloton are still paying their $44-a-month fee, if they are keeping the bike at all. Others are canceling one or two of the streaming services they signed up for when they were living room-bound.
Unlike an exercise bike, the pandemic-driven decision to buy a puppy or a kitten yields far stickier spending behavior. People have and will continue to pay a premium for their pets.
As a result, covid-era petcare companies like ReadiVet — a concierge veterinary care startup — are fetching impressive returns and expanding rapidly. Over the course of the last 12 months the Dallas-based venture experienced 147% growth in revenue, doubled the the size of its 20 person team and expanded to two new markets — Atlanta and as of last month Nashville.
The company’s decision to add a Nashville presence was an obvious one, according to ReadiVet CEO and co-founder Landon Lawson, who cites the city’s explosive growth and ties to local investors as determinants. Martin Ventures — an esteemed Nashville healthcare venture firm — was an early ally of the startup, investing in its 2019 pre seed and 2022 Series A investment rounds.
“Martin Ventures has a history in investing in improving the patient and provider experience in human healthcare,” says Jordan Lipson, a principal at Martin Ventures. “It was only natural that we expand these efforts to include man’s best friend.”
ReadiVet is solving two of the $62 billion pet healthcare industry’s most pressing problems — supply and demand. According to research from ASPCA, the demand for pet healthcare services is expected to grow by 33% between 2019 and 2029, while the number of new vets entering the field is expected to fall 16%.
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The demand for at-home veterinary care
The demand for veterinary care skyrocketed during the pandemic, as a wave of people adopted pets for the first time while working from home.
Others, spending more time with the dog or cat curled up next to them on the couch noticed issues they wouldn’t have normally caught, explains veterinarian Brandon Meyers.
“All of it together, created a perfect storm,” says Lawson, who also noted that covid-restrictions closed down clinics, limiting many visits to curbside care.
Readivet set up shop in Dallas County, Texas in 2019. A year later, the startup added a second service area in nearby Collin County, to meet the inflating demand. Knowing fully well that the demand wasn’t isolated to Texas, Readivet set its sights on another southern metropolis — Atlanta. The startup began offering services in the Peachtree city last July.
Demand was just one part of the company’s impressive ascend. Like human healthcare, the pet care industry is plagued with problems, namely the quality of care and accessibility to treatment.
Lawson says Readivet is committed to providing pets and their parents with more personalized and convenient care. This is achieved by examining pets in the environment they are most comfortable in(their home), reducing exposure to other illnesses — like kennel cough — and relieving the headache and hassle of loading large (like Great Danes) or fractious (like cats) animals into the car.
Owners with busy schedules who struggle to break free from their desk, can book “owner-absent visits”, once a veterinary-client-pet-relationship is established.
“Provide us with access to a door code or physical key, and we can see your pet where they are most comfortable while you (the client) join the visit via video chat,” explains Lawson.
Routine wellness visits, sick visits, vaccinations, euthanasia and POC labs can all be done within the home. A standard at-home examine is $149 — a travel fee of $60 and exam fee of $89 per pet.
X-rays, surgeries, procedures and in-house labs are performed at ReadiVet’s physical clinics. The Nashville location is located on West End Avenue. All in-clinic treatments are administered by the same vet who cares for the pet in the home.
ReadiVet’s strategy is working. 90% of its patients book again within 6 months of their first visit and 96% book again within 18 months. Since launching in 2019, ReadiVet’s 10 vets have served more than 7,500 owners and cared for over 12,000 furry friends in Dallas, Atlanta and Nashville.
But the company’s growth hasn't been a walk in the park, says Lawson, who says the biggest hurdle for the company is hiring.
There’s only about 30,000 vets in the U.S., which pales in comparison with the 11 million pets that were added in 2020. One of the factors fueling the shortage is the lack of work-life balance those in the profession have historically dealt with.
The startup has been more successful than traditional clinics in attracting veterinarians thanks to its no nights, no weekends, no crowded clinics model. ReadiVet practitioners work 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and make a maximum of 7 house calls a day, a stark difference from the 12-hour, unmanageably busy clinic life.
The company has plans to ramp up hiring in 2023 and add 5 — 1 in Dallas, 2 in Atlanta and 1 in Nashville — to its 10-vet roster.
In the meantime, Lawson hopes ReadiVet can continue to give pets, their parents and their vets a new leash on healthcare.