Vetster: On-Demand Virtual Veterinary Appointments

by RaeAnne Marsh

Vetster connects pet owners to thousands of licensed veterinary professionals ready to provide online pet care through video, chat and voice-enabled appointments 24/7. Founded in September last year and officially launched in November, Vetster is the largest veterinary telemedical marketplace in North America. “With veterinarians in all states and provinces across North America, Vetster makes it easy for pet owners to find, book and conduct a telemedical appointment with a trusted veterinarian — all from the convenience of their own home,” says CEO and co-founder Mark Bordo.

For veterinarians, the Vetster platform provides them a way to expand their services outside the clinic and clinic hours, reach new clients, and provide care in between appointments or for treatment where an in-clinic appointment may not be needed. For pet owners, Vetster offers an easy way to book appointments at times convenient to them, access care outside the clinic setting, and improve their pet’s overall health with proactive and regular care. Says Bordo, “Vetster aims to create a holistic and consistent approach to caring for pets.” 

Bordo believes the growing acceptance and adoption of telemedical services for people and the dramatic increase in pet ownership spurred by the pandemic were key factors in the development of Vetster; he notes veterinarians saw a 50% rise in clients that challenged their ability to meet the needs of clients within their current practice. 

“Building a platform that exceeded the needs of our customers and our veterinarians quickly has been no easy feat, particularly when we’re all working remotely and need to collaborate and be lock-step with one another,” Bordo shares. “Our MVP [minimum viable product] needed to have a robust set of tools to support scheduling, great audio and video quality, it needed to be secure, and needed to offer key features like reporting, automated billing and payments. Accomplishing this within just a few months was a huge challenge and I’m so proud to say our team rose to the occasion.”

Bordo credits the team’s experience in building successful marketplaces (noting they previously built Canada’s first short-term rental marketplace which was later sold to Expedia); Medical Director Sarah Machell, DVM, who was instrumental in ensuring Vetster’s solution brings immediate value to its veterinarians and veterinary practitioners; and partners who have helped Vetster educate the market and attract clients to the platform. 

He also credits earlier advice to “be persistent,” noting that persistence is the key element to get any startup off the ground. “Every startup will face hurdles and challenges while starting. Daily persistence tackling each and every problem as they arise has been key to our success and a challenge which is tested daily.” 

In its first six months, Vetster attracted veterinarians in every state and province across North America to make care more accessible and available 24/7, with thousands of pet owners booking appointments to receive care, access online prescriptions where regionally permitted, and help improve their pet’s overall health. Sharing, “Vetster is on a mission to become the world’s leading online platform to access veterinary care for their pets,” he reports Vetster recently raised $12.25 million CAD, which will be used to expand globally and build out the company’s platform and services.

Did You Know: The pet care industry has grown to $100 billion in the last year as more people have added pets to their family.

Photo courtesy of Vetster

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