Q&A: The app bringing veterinary care home

This week we chat to Morgan Coleman, founder and CEO of Vets on Call– a disruptor that is turning the traditional model of veterinary care by bringing a vet into the home to care for pets via a downloadable app that allows pet owners to sign up and book a vet consultation at a time that suits them in their own home.

ISB: What was the inspiration behind you establishing Vets on Call?

MC: I have been an avid animal lover my entire life. I grew up on a farm and was always surrounded by animals. As a kid I was never the one to take my pets to the vet. I got my first dog, Milky as an adult and took her to the vet for the first time. I could immediately see the opportunity to provide more convenient, less stressful pet care that resulted in better healthcare outcomes for our pets whilst creating more opportunities for veterinarians to thrive.

ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the enterprise off the ground?

MC: I think the initial challenges we faced were certainly around disrupting a very traditional business model. Our model meant that we not only needed to change the way our clients behaved, but also the way that vets looked at different employment options. This was coupled by the challenge the limited resources we had at hand to advertise, but once word-of-mouth started to spread both within the pet owner community and the vet community that we were doing this, and doing it well, we started to build momentum.

ISB: How did the COVID lockdown impact on the business, from a positive and/or negative perspective?

MC: Contrary to the typical impact COVID had on many businesses, it’s impact on Vets on Call was incredibly positive. It forced people to look for alternative options for their pets’ health. What we saw was an acceleration of the change in people’s behaviour that we had been working to change. We’d already seen the shift in the market from those that know about us, but COVID certainly helped speed up that change.

ISB: Please tell us a little about the technology behind the app that gives clients instant access to their pet’s medical history and wellness programs.

MC: One of our core values of our business is transparency, that’s not just around pricing but around your pet’s records too. We believe that owners have the right to access this whenever they please. So our app not only maintains all your pet’s health records but allows the owner easy access to these at any time. They can review what a vet said, the treatment plan and even reach out to a vet for clarification.

Our health plans ensure that owners have the ability to ensure pet protection. We provide plans that will send your pet’s customised flea, tick and worming treatment to you on the same day each month. That way you never forget and your pet is always protected. We are dedicated to removing any barriers to looking after your pet.

ISB: What is your vision for the venture in the next couple of years?

MC: Our vision is to democratise the veterinary industry. We’ve worked really hard over the past couple of years to be able to expand our service offering to match what a typical clinic does, but do it in a more convenient, less stressful way. In doing so we’re able to be a pet’s primary caregiver which is ultimately what we want to be.

We want to provide opportunities to vets across the country and to remove any barriers to pet’s receiving the absolute best in healthcare. Within two years we will be a national business and be setting our sights on international expansion.

ISB: And, Finally, what is the number one lesson you’ve learnt on your business journey you’d share with others looking to start their own enterprise?

MC: As a business owner, and particularly a founder of a disruptive business, you need to be so flexible. The problems you had yesterday are not the problems you’ll have tomorrow and if you hope to never have problems you will be bitterly disappointed.

It’s also important to understand what progress really is, it doesn’t have to be 100 per cent increase of revenue week on week – if you’re improving one per cent each day that really adds up. Keeping that in perspective has been very helpful for us as we are changing the behaviour of an entire industry.