There's nothing a doting pet parent dreads more than an unexpected trip to the vet. From the massive bill, long wait times, and, of course, the emotional toll on the beloved fur child, vet visits are perhaps below human dentists on the list of unpleasant but necessary medical procedures.
Modern Animal, a Los Angeles-based veterinary clinic startup, is betting that it can make the experience better for all humans involved, which ultimately benefits the four-legged patient. On Thursday, the startup, which has been dubbed the One Medical for pets, raised $13.5 million in seed funding led by Founders Fund and Upfront Ventures.
"In the human healthcare space you have things like One Medical or other clinical models with telemedicine," Founders Fund partner and newly minted Modern Animal board member Scott Nolan told Business Insider. "It could've happened in petcare years ago but it didn't, and that's why they started this. It's inevitable."
Human healthcare has been an area of intense interest for investors in venture and private equity. After the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land, potential investors saw a market opportunity balloon like very few other industries could dream of. Boutique care clinics, like the aforementioned One Medical, sprang up seemingly overnight backed by deep pocketed private investors and a pitch for its customers to take the hassle out of going to the doctor. What those investors overlooked, according to Nolan and Modern Animal cofounder and CEO Steve Eidelman, was an even bigger market — those humans' pets.
"If I spend $500 on veterinary care, it's not like my dog is spending that money or is spending the entire day there by himself," Eidelman said. "A huge part of it is the people experience for doctors and clients. If you improve the human experience, the pets benefit most."
Modern Animal members pay $100 per year for access to a mobile app and other tele-vets, Eidelman explained, and the physical clinics will be designed to be transparent in all aspects of treatment. Literally. The physical storefronts will allow members to see in to the treatment areas from the street, he said.
"The two key things we are aware of is technology and design. They've remade how we get groceries and things like that, so I saw an opportunity to recreate this system with those two things at the center," Eidelman explained.
And that's exactly where the $13.5 million is going, Eidelman said. The startup, which came about after Eidelman sold his previous successful petcare startup Whistle Labs to petcare giant Mars, has yet to open any physical locations. Its first is under construction in Beverly Grove, a Los Angeles neighborhood near the trendy and pet-friendly West Hollywood.
"They are extremely focused on building a sustainable profitable business," Nolan said of Eidelman and his cofounder Ben Jacobs. "They are already thinking about how to grow extremely carefully. It's great when you're working with a team that's already thinking about things in exactly the right way."