Vetalia, founded by María Gutiérrez and Marion Benítez Landa in 2021, was established as a Mexican startup for veterinary services aiming to transform the pet care experience in Latin America.
It is estimated that in Mexican homes, 69.8% of households have some pet, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). Therefore, Vetalia’s mission is to improve both the client’s experience and the quality of life of pets and those who work in the animal care industry.
To achieve this, Vetalia specializes in pet care through modern clinics and a technological platform that aims to provide a comprehensive solution, a “one-stop-shop” for all aspects of pet care.
“We deeply understand the industry and know the market we operate in. Our founding team has 28 years of experience in the pet care industry in the region. Providing a comprehensive service: a service that begins before and does not end when you leave the store is our value proposition,” the entrepreneurs declared exclusively for Contxto.
As long-term pet parents in Mexico, María and Marion understood well the inefficiencies of the industry and the difficulties faced by both pet owners and veterinary professionals.
“The pet care industry in Latin America is hyper-fragmented, where veterinarians, the main player, is often not recognized or paid consistently or proportionally to the size and margins of the industry,” they explain.
Pet parents spent, on average, MXN$ 3,000 of their salary on caring for their furry friends per month in 2020, according to data from Coru. According to the Talent.com platform, the average veterinarian salary in Mexico is MXN$108,000 per year or MXN$55.38 per hour. Entry-level positions start with an income of MXN$72,000 annually, while more experienced professionals earn up to MXN$180,000 annually.
Here, in a sector where technology is still limited, Vetalia has found its area of opportunity: the launch of a comprehensive experience platform where customer service is just one link in a long chain that aims to improve efficiency in the pet care industry.
“We find it incredible that nowadays you have to call a clinic to schedule an appointment or that you have to resort to multiple service providers to access comprehensive care for your pet”.
Vetalia’s platform allows customers to schedule appointments, view their pets’ medical history, and communicate with their veterinarian easily.
“We launched the MVP of the platform this week. This MVP is a customer experience platform, that is, a platform through which our customers can schedule appointments, view their medical history, communicate with their veterinarian, etc. We are building a platform that integrates more products and services, including pet insurance and retail,” Gutiérrez and Benitez report.
Vetalia’s vision allows it to integrate services expected to increase in the coming years. For example, the pet insurance market in the region reached a value of USD $ 272 million in 2022 and is estimated to have a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% during the 2023-2028 period, according to an EMR study.
In addition to improving the customer experience, Vetalia firmly commits to veterinarians. The company seeks to offer animal health professionals a clear and ambitious career path and aims for every veterinary technician to become a clinic director.
“One cannot think of providing good medical service without having cutting-edge technology. At Vetalia, we have worked hard to find the best medical team that allows our doctors to provide the best care,” emphasize the startup’s founders.
“On the other hand, we have a team, both doctors and operators, with extensive industry experience. One of our investors and advisors is Lukas Keindl, co-founder of BondVet, who opened and operated more than 44 clinics in the United States, and the insight he has given us has been useful. We believe that his experience and knowledge have been very relevant for the development of Vetalia”.
Vetalia: A model endorsed by USD$10 million
Recently, Vetalia completed a USD$10 million investment round, led by renowned investors such as Lukas Keindl, founder of BondVet; Andrea Viejo, former General Manager of Laika México; Teresa Gutierrez, Country Manager of Rappi México; Sujay Tyle, co-founder of Merama; and the Gutiérrez Muguerza family office from Monterrey.
This capital will be invested in the business expansion, the launch (and optimization) of the technological platform, team formation, and the opening of clinics. The first Vetalia clinic opened its doors in Mexico City on July 24, 2023, while the second and third are projected to open before the end of 2023.
While Vetalia is making giant strides, the magnitude of the market they are addressing must also be highlighted. The global pet care market has grown from USD$245,000 million in 2021 to USD$261,000 million in 2022. As retail sees slow purchase growth, the online pet market has experienced a significant boom, nearly quadrupling from 2013 to 2018.
In Latin America, the pet care market reached USD$8,130 million in 2021 and is expected to grow at a rate of 7.11% during the 2023-2028 period, with countries like Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia leading the segment with annual growth of 13%.
Vetalia intends to become a comprehensive solution for all pet needs. To this end, the company plans to expand rapidly, aiming to open 12 to 15 veterinary clinics in Mexico in the short term. In the medium term, they plan to grow their business in other countries and complete the integration of their medical services with the platform.
“Our goal is to improve the pet care industry, so we see various opportunities to synergize with companies that have taken leadership in the same industry but in other categories,” conclude Gutiérrez and Landa.