With the recent deluge of on-demand startups, many of us expect to get whatever we want with the push of a button, whether it’s food, a ride or pretty much anything else. So why not medical care for the pets that we love?
That’s what Elijah Kliger is hoping to deliver with a service called InstaVet. By visiting the InstaVet website, or by just calling or texting (the number is 917-525-2579), you can schedule a house call from a licensed veterinarian. Kliger suggested that normally, scheduling an appointment can feel like you’re at the “beck and call” of the vet, while with InstaVet, “We want that to be switched around — the doctors will be your beck and call.”
It’s not quite as quick as calling an Uber driver, but it’s pretty fast — as I was writing this post on Saturday afternoon, the next available visit was just a few hours away. The company also offers Pet 911 service, with licensed veterinary technicians available to immediately transport your pet to an animal medical center.
InstaVet currently serves a number of areas in and around New York, specifically Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island/The Hamptons and Westchester. It charges $199 for an appointment. That’s $150 for the physical exam and $49 for a concierge fee, which also gives you access to advice from InstaVet professionals for the next year.
It’s also offering a $99 promotional price for rescue dogs. And Kliger added that 10 percent of the company’s profits will be donated to local animal shelters.
Since launching in April, InstaVet has served hundreds of clients, Kliger said. One thing he’s learned in that time is the importance of “the human touch” — even if people make a booking on the website, they still speak to someone on the phone. And while Kliger’s pushing to deliver “standard care in the home,” the most common request has been euthanasia. It’s not the cheeriest of subjects, but there’s certainly something to be said for putting your pet to sleep at home, rather than in a hospital.
There are currently 10 active veterinarians on the service. Kliger said that by adding more vets over time, InstaVet can move closer to truly on-demand service. He’s also planning to expand to other cities in coming months.
To be clear, the idea of veterinary house calls isn’t new (indeed, it’s something that most InstaVet partners were already offering), but Kliger said it makes up only a tiny of all veterinary service right now. That’s what he’s hoping to change.
The service, by the way, is just one part of Kliger plans for his startup InstaPet, which also offers to access other types of pet care providers, as well as a pet taxi service (that’s right, Uber for pets). He’s currently focused on InstaVet, but his hope is to eventually deliver “a Swiss army knife, concierge service for your pet, fixing anything that you could possibly think of.”