Unlocking the value hidden in data that has long gone unaggregated and unanalyzed is a hugely attractive proposition of big data and cloud-based SaaS startups, and newcomer VetCloud is no exception. The startup was part of TechStars London, and while it’s targeting a very specific niche, it could hold the key to a problem that any government in the world would be happy to have help with.
On the surface, VetCloud is simply a front-end replacement for veterinarian practice management, scheduling and CRM software. It’s cloud-based SaaS tool is a huge improvement over the kinds of software in use at most vet clinics around the world, which are often stuck in the 90s and not even Windows-based. VetCloud offers the chance to take vets into the 21st century, with actual calendaring and cloud-stored patient and client records for easy portability, retrieval and updating that doesn’t require access to an on-premise server.
But the vision behind VetCloud is much bigger than just the practice management tools it offers. Records and info at vet clinics are still primarily siloed and unstructured, kept in paper files and offline records. By aggregating and analyzing the data entered via its cloud-based platform, the startup hopes to change that, and leverage the data it collects to be able to do things like identify shifts in pet health trends as they happen, or spot the next major livestock disease outbreak while there’s still time to control it.
The big-data approach also helps with the bottom line by providing tools that can analyze a vet’s practice and give them suggestions about how best to make money, perhaps by suggesting partnerships with pet supply companies.
“One of the problems that we see is that vets have always done business a certain way, and that way’s not making them money anymore,” explained VetCloud’s Sarah Cochcrane in an interview. More and more, vets are losing out to pet supply and food shops and clerks, who are bending the ear of pet owners and offering more advice about what products and brands to buy, resulting in fewer add-on service and sales opportunities for the actual professionals who spent years studying the medicine and science behind pet care.
VetCloud’s founding team is based mostly in Serbia, where they’re working with government to roll out the product among practices in the country. In some markets, that’s going to be the best way for VetCloud to grow, according to CEO and co-founder Ivan Vesic, but others will require selling directly to vets and practice managers, which is what the startup is looking for funding to help it do. Initially, it’s going to focus on small and mixed animal clinics, with expansion to large animal practices planned for a little later down the road.
Just as with EHR pushes in the U.S. and elsewhere, getting large-scale buy-in for this type of platform will be a challenge, but there are fewer privacy worries to contend with when compared to human medicine. And the benefits of being able to track drug interactions, treatment regimen effectiveness or disease spread across countless clinics nearly in real-time truly would be revolutionary for the veterinary industry.