Bond Vet stitches up $170 million from Warburg Pincus

Bond Vet, the New York-based veterinary care clinic, has announced the close of a $170 million investment from Warburg Pincus.

The veterinary startup raised $17 million toward the end of 2020, explaining that they’re modeled after the human-focused CityMD. Bond Vet currently offers services in New York City and Long Island, New York.

The idea is that the startup can fill the gap between vet ERs and the veterinary equivalent of a primary care physician. There is no membership required to bring your pet to Bond Vet, with walk-ins or appointments available via the website or mobile app. Bond Vet also offers urgent care and primary care for pets, which includes vaccinations, check-ups, preventative medicine, etc.

I am a puppy mom as of May 2021 and have been going to Bond Vet exclusively since my little dude came on the scene. I’m paying the bills, too. Bond Vet isn’t giving me or my pup special treatment. Here’s my review:

The pros

Bond Vet offers telehealth appointments. These aren’t always useful as our pets can’t explain their own symptoms, so unless the issue is incredibly obvious, it’s probably best to bring your furry friend into a clinic. When it is an obvious problem, being able to diagnose and treat an issue from the safety and comfort of your home, without having to cart your pet around, is wonderful.

Bond Vet tracks everything in a mobile app. You can look at the notes from your pet’s last appointment on the app, or download and print their entire medical history, proof of vaccinations, etc.

Bond Vet is pretty damn affordable, and the model makes pricing pretty straightforward, which isn’t necessarily common in the vet or human healthcare worlds. Vaccinations, for example, are $55 for cats and dogs. A telehealth appointment is $50.

The company has an on-site pharmacy, and they’re pretty good about turning around medication quickly. They’ll even ship you medication if you’re not in town and have been given a prescription via telehealth.

Bond Vet is designed specifically to be a vet’s office. There is a treat station, and separated chairs in the waiting area to make sure sick pets aren’t over stimulated by the other animals in the room.

A few small cons

Bond Vet’s model is very akin to CityMD, which means that your pet is unlikely to see the same vet or nurse exclusively. In other words, it can be hard to build a relationship with your pet’s primary doctor, as they don’t really have one.

And Bond was very slow to allow pet parents back into the clinic alongside their fur-babies during the pandemic. While stores all around their Cobble Hill location were back open for business, with both masked and unmasked patrons wandering around, pet parents had to stay outside while their pets were treated. It was very recent that Bond started allowing pet parents back into the clinic, and even then, not into the exam rooms with their pets.

I fully understand and appreciate the need to provide safe spaces for workers during the pandemic. But as a new mom to a little puppy, this policy of being outside until the end of July was somewhat bothersome, considering that my pet has no agency or representation if I’m not around. I’m sure the nice folks at Bond would never do anything untoward with my little guy, but I still feel uncomfortable sending him somewhere to get pricked or prodded without me. And it was especially terrible sending him to get his vaccinations without even being in the building.

At times Bond can feel a bit like a volume play. When I first got my puppy, I had a million questions about what was best for him, from his bath time routine to his diet to the best treats and bones for teething. We’ve been to Bond at least half a dozen times, if not more, and it’s about 50/50 when it comes to whether a nurse, vet tech or doctor has the time to really sit down and answer all your questions.

Overall, I’ve been happy with my choice to use Bond Vet. And it would seem I’m not alone. The startup has treated more than 40,000 pets in the NYC area.

Here’s what co-founder and CEO Mo Punjani had to say in a prepared statement:

The increase in pet ownership, accelerated by the rise of adoptions and need for care during the pandemic has demonstrated an enormous opportunity to improve veterinary services, especially in urgent and emergent cases for pets. Bond Vet meets the demand for a high-quality, convenient experience for pet care, supported by our best-in-class technology and standards for medical excellence. The new partnership with Warburg Pincus and the continuing support of our initial capital provider Talisman Capital, will help accelerate our growth and enable us to provide the best experience for our pets, pet parents and our veterinarians in New York and beyond.

The new funding will be used to expand the Bond Vet footprint, and invest in equipment, training, culture and technology.