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UK pet tech Creature Comforts snaps £7M to open new clinics in London

Creature Comforts Founders
Picture credits: Creature Comforts

UK-based pet tech startup Creature Comforts has raised £7 million in seed capital to redesign the veterinary care experience while the industry is struggling to keep up with the demand. The investment round was co-led by Torch Capital, Hanaco VC known for backing UVeye and Chain Reaction, and Boost Capital Partners. Also, Active Partners, Tarek Abuzayyad of Initial Capital and Steve Rosengarten of Vet One participated in the round. 

Plans two new clinics in London

The cash influx will be used to design, open and staff its first two clinics – a St John’s Wood branch due to open in early 2024, followed by another in a prime London location. It will also fund the development of a proprietary app by an in-house tech team, supporting 24/7 virtual care and customer queries, and letting vets work flexibly and from home, while giving pet owners fast and unlimited access to expertise outside of normal opening hours.

Subscription model for pet owners

In addition to clinics that are architecturally designed to help keep animals calm, Creature Comforts will introduce a monthly subscription model for pet owners. This will include unlimited consultations, annual vaccinations, member rates for neutering, dental treatments and routine medications, and community events. 

Customers can also opt to pay-as-they-go. Vet teams will benefit from a share of their clinic’s profits, above industry-standard pay, compensated overtime, manageable working hours and scheduled breaks.

Eyes to improve veterinarian experience

Creature Comforts was founded by Daniel Attia, the serial entrepreneur raised $23 million to build online estate agency Yopa, and Russell Welsh, a qualified veterinary surgeon with 23 years’ experience. Also, he was the co-owner of Village Vet, a 33-site primary care and referral veterinary group exiting to private equity in 2017 and then to MARS veterinary health in 2018.

After getting two large-breed dogs during lockdown, Attia found it difficult to secure vet appointments, and was forced to sign up with six different practices. As a vet, Welsh was all aware of the toll of booming pet ownership on overworked, burned out veterinary teams. He had also seen how corporate takeovers of independent clinics resulting in cost stripping, and unhappy staff and customers.

Russell Welsh, COO and co-founder of Creature Comforts, commented: “Our goal is healthier pets and happier vets. We want to fix the state of affairs for animals, customers and veterinary teams all at the same time because, right now, no one is winning. When you can access it, vet care in the UK is almost always exemplary, but the experience around it is broken. 

Sam Jones, partner at Torch Capital, commented: “Creature Comforts’ integrated approach, combining telehealth consultations with aesthetically beautiful and digitally enabled in-person clinics, prioritises both the customer experience and the wellbeing of veterinary staff. Having seen the tremendous value this model has provided both consumers and vets in the US, we are incredibly excited by what the business is set to achieve across the UK.”

Alon Lifshitz, founding partner at Hanaco Ventures, added: “Creature Comforts is addressing an underserved, large market, still in the early stages of the digital transformation cycle. With pet ownership increasing in the UK and the lacklustre pet care and services offered to date, Creature Comforts is reinventing the entire vet experience through unique technology, personalised quality products, and cutting-edge clinics. We’re proud to partner with the talented, experienced team, which is driving this transformation in the industry.”

Alvaro Alvarez del Rio, founder at Boost Capital Partners, added: “Since the pandemic, millions of households have welcomed pets and they are demanding a new standard of care for their animals. Dan has put together a team with proven execution skills to offer a better service to UK pet parents. We are extremely excited to participate in this journey and help the team craft a superior user experience.”

Tom Profumo, partner at Active Partners, said: “With the dramatic rise in pet ownership, Creature Comforts is bringing an entirely fresh approach to the veterinary care market, improving the experience for vets and pet owners alike. As early investors in brands like Soho House, we are excited to work with Daniel, Russell, and the team to build out a best-in-class offering to their members and their veterinary staff.”

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