It’s bump day, Health Tech readers!
💰 Situational awareness: Nearly a third of adults responding to a recent survey by mental health website Verywell Mind said they had to cancel a therapy session because they couldn’t afford it, and nearly the half said they would have to quit if they were out-of-pocket costs rose, according to the WSJ.
1 big thing: $40 million in funding for vet tech
Petfolk, seeks to offer a new breed of veterinary care, raised $40 million in a Series A round led by White Star Capital and Freshly founder Michael Wystrach, Sarah writes.
Why is this important: As more startups capitalize on pet owners’ demand for convenience, VCs are increasingly looking for their slice in an industry historically dominated by large consolidators and private equity investors – which have achieved great success in the sector.
Enlarge: Charlotte, North Carolina-based Petfolk, formerly known as One Vet, offers a technology approach it says simplifies access to health records and care teams through mobile centers while enabling personalized care plans.
- It operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and will soon launch a 24/7 virtual care service.
- Petfolk prioritizes the consumer (and pet) experience, promising a “stress-free” environment with a “soothing scent” to keep pets relaxed.
Yes and: Like many human health specialties, animal health continues to face a significant labor shortage.
- Petfolk says it offers flexible hours for its veterinarians to prevent burnout.
- It also eliminated non-competition.
Details: Petfolk’s lead investors are joined by Triple Point Capital, alongside celebrities Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Mark Wystrach and Cameron Duddy of Midland, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones and Danica Patrick.
- Consumer industry leaders also participated, including Outdoor Voices founder Ty Haney, FIGS Scrubs founders Trina Spear and Heather Hasson, and many others.
- Petfolk was co-founded in 2020 by brother and sister Audrey and Michael Wystrach, the latter of whom sold his former company Freshly for $1.5 billion to Nestlé.
State of play: Early-stage investors have increasingly invested in emerging veterinary technology models focused on consumerization, affordability, or virtual access.
- The Vets, a home-based veterinary technology company, won $40 million in January in a funding round led by Target Global.
- In October, Warburg Pincus injected $170 million into Bond Vet, a tech-based urgent care startup much like a CityMD for pets.
- Modern Animal, a Los Angeles startup that capitalizes on pet owners’ demand for convenience and affordability, raised $75.5 million in July 2021
- Small Door Veterinary, a New York-based membership model, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Toba Capital in June 2021.
Reality check: The booming veterinary industry is still dominated by private equity.
- Those with real scale are the large, established consolidators, like TSG Consumer Partners’ Pathway Vet Alliance, JAB Investors’ NVA and many others.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note the correct spelling of Heather Hasson.