On-demand video consultations with doctors have proven popular — healthtech startup apps like Kry and Babylon have been downloaded more than 1.2m times in Europe — as patients show that they’re keen for flexible checkups.
Now it turns out that people want on-demand video consultations for their pets, too.
FirstVet is a three-year-old Swedish startup that puts pet owners in touch with vets via an app. It’s expanded into neighbouring Norway, Denmark and Finland, as well as the UK and has clocked up more than 200,000 registered users.
One Trustpilot reviewer said it’s “great for emergencies that probably aren’t emergencies”. Other reviewers were pleased that FirstVet saved them a trip to a clinic — and a hefty bill.
Like many doctor apps FirstVet has built partnerships with several insurance companies, including Bought By Many in the UK, making the service free for some users. For other UK customers it costs £20-30 per consultation.
Dogs are the most commonly treated pet, followed by cats. Horses account for 4% of consultations, while perhaps the most unusual treatment FirstVet has assisted with was organising an x-ray for a goldfish.
With its latest injection of funding — an €18.5m Series B led by London-based fund OMERS Ventures, with participation from Creandum — FirstVet plans to launch in other markets, such as France, Germany and the US. There’s big money to be made heading to North America: the US veterinary care market was worth $70bn in 2017, compared with only €9bn in Germany.
FirstVet currently has a team of 35 and works with 150 vets.
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