Even though the use of digitized systems in animal clinics can improve both the operations and the experience of pet owners and vets, such tech solutions enabling data-based and personalized preventive animal care are not so common yet. By and large, innovation in pet care is in stagnation due to the lack of a comprehensive approach for the unification of data and collaboration between the players in the industry, which means that vets use the same practices and tools as they did in the 1990s. Emerging trends in the pet industry are beginning to follow suit with already established tech trends for human health such as wearable devices for fitness monitoring and telemedicine. European pet tech startups such as the Stockholm-based FirstVet that has developed a digital veterinary clinic for pet owners, or the British pet biotech PetMedix, which is developing antibodies for cats and dogs, are tapping into the growing market.
Co-founded by two Romanians – Sebastian Gabor and Ruxandra Pui, Digitail is a veterinary cloud-based ERP and CRM software and a customer app that provides solutions for the automation of redundant processes in veterinary clinics by allowing vets to do record-keeping and stock management and enabling pet owners to take better care of their pets. The Digitail app acts as a digital pet ID and allows users to schedule vet appointments, take notes about their pets’ health, receive reminders about coming appointments, vaccines, and medications as well as access the existing health records of their pets, and book free consultations with vets. The telemedicine solutions that the app offers include diagnosis and advice on the diet, preventive care, and referral to a local specialist. This week it closed a $2.5M seed round, which was led by the byFounders and the AI fund of Google Gradient Ventures with the participation of Partech and some business angel investors.
The tangible need for pet telemedicine
Gabor who is also the co-founder of the Code for Romania initiative, which connects the community of innovative and tech people with the goal to bring about the development of solutions for local social problems, came with the idea of modernizing the way that veterinarian clinics operated when he observed that pens and sheets were still used as management system tools. When in 2017 Gabor got the vet healthcare specialist Alexandru Gheorghita and Ruxandra onboard, the team combined their experience in software product management, veterinary medicine, and sales and initially bootstrapped the project. As highlighted by the in-house vet specialist of Digitail Gheorghita, animal clinics struggle to develop long-term relationships with the new generation of millennial pet owners because they are not speaking their modern digital language and therefore pet telemedicine might prove to be the answer to the problems that animal hospitals face. The following graph shows that VCs have also taken the growth potential of pet tech startups and the funding in pet technologies experienced a 50% increase only between 2018 and 2019.
What lies ahead of Digitail?
After receiving its first €220K pre-seed investment from the startup accelerator Fast Track Malko in 2019, Digitail’s vet software has already managed to attract around two thousand veterinarians users of its platform from across 16 countries, while its customer app is improving the pet taking experience of over 500 000 pet owners. Recognizing that the US represents an enticing opportunity for Digitail, as around 40% of the pet owners there are millennials, the team of the pet tech startup plans to use the raised funds to further grow its operations in the US and expand its team.