Pets are a huge industry. The adoption of 48 million dogs and cats over the previous three years drove sales to over $100 billion in 2020. However, just 5,000 additional veterinarians were hired during the same time, increasing delays in getting appointments and adding stress to veterinarians’ operations. Fuzzy announced today that it has received $44 million in expansion capital to expand its digital pet care network of veterinary experts in order to relieve some of the industry’s burden and make care more accessible and affordable to everybody. In March, the San Francisco-based startup secured $18 million in a Series B financing.
The startup, which created in 2016, offers live chat and telehealth services 24 hours a day, ship-to-home prescriptions, a vet-curated e-commerce marketplace, and educational content and activities. According to Zubin Bhettay, co-founder and CEO of Fuzzy, the company’s digitally native strategy can save pet parents up to $750 per year on healthcare costs. “The main narrative in 2020 was that everyone required telehealth services for themselves,” he continued. “We saw it migrate to pets, and then the industry exacerbated it.” “As a result of the increase in pet ownership, emergency hospital wait times have increased to up to ten hours, and getting a vet appointment has increased to four to six weeks.”
Fuzzy thinks that by paving the way for more telehealth services, he may inspire pet parents to think about their pets’ health on a more regular basis, which will help them, live longer. Too far, the firm has enabled over 1 million consultations, amassing data and operational knowledge in order to extend delivery care at scale. Bhettay didn’t intend to seek new money so soon after the Series B, but said the company’s rapid growth allowed it to recruit more people, complete more tasks on its to-do list in the last eight months, and create a unique chance to expand collaborations and financial goals.
He forecasts a fivefold rise in income in 2021 over 2020, while Fuzzy subscriptions, which start for free and later, cost $24.99 per month or $99.99 per year, have surged as a result of collaborations with merchants and vet groups. Bhettay did not disclose the company’s worth, but he did indicate it was more than three times more than the Series B financing. Icon Ventures led the investment, which included current investors Greycroft, Matrix, and Crosscut, as well as veterinary clinic companies and individuals like former Chewy chairman Mark Vadon and Clearlake Group founder Jose Feliciano. In addition, 25% of the funds came from underrepresented populations, according to Bhettay.
His objectives for the new investment include the creation and implementation of new product options, expanded instructional content, and new member growth; in addition to growing the vet network, (Fuzzy is now active in 25 places). “We want pet care to move from once a year to anytime, anyplace,” Bhettay added. “As we consider our aim of becoming the first destination where everyone goes, there various features and products that we can introduce into the company, as well as acquisitions in the next six to twelve months, to help us speed that path.”
A number of firms are capitalizing on the growing popularity of pets to grab family spending on healthcare, insurance, and food. Bhettay is also noticing a shift in attention from larger incumbents, as well as marketing money, which he sees as proof that the industry is transitioning to the digitization of pet care. Tom Mawhinney, a general partner at Icon Ventures, has four dogs and has experienced the frustrations of having to wait weeks for them to visit a veterinarian, including having to take one of them to the emergency room.
Bhettay, he said, is “an active and brilliant entrepreneur” who is putting together a solid team to take on a field ripe for disruption. “The difficulties get worse when more pets are added to the system, which hasn’t grown in a way to accommodate that,” Mawhinney explained. “New ways of caring for dogs are needed, and Fuzzy is putting in place a personalized wellness plan that encourages more regular engagement and improves the lives of pets as a whole.”