Digital devices to keep tabs on your pet’s oxygen level, heart rate – ET HealthWorld

New Delhi: What happens when two dog-loving members of a family exchange notes on how to juggle high-pressure careers with pet parenting? A startup idea is born. That’s how Vani Aiyer teamed up with co-founder Vivek Srinivas (who is married to her cousin) and decided to quit her senior management role in Nissan India for the rough-and-tumble excitement of the startup experience.

“Both of us were from the corporate space and had to work around long hours and constant travel to look after our dogs,” she says. “I have three – Boss, Queen and Laptop – as does Vivek – Bruno, Zara and Rowdy.” The dogs are of different breeds and ages with different health issues, which means bolts from the blue every now and then. “Bruno, Vivek’s dog, would get fits but by the time he was taken to the vet he would have recovered. So the vet never got a clear perspective of how bad the fits were,” she says.

These health emergencies convinced the duo that pet care needed devices that can track pet vitals at home the way people track their BP, blood sugar or oxygen levels regularly.

Thus began Vetinstant Healthcare, which started as a bootstrapped entity and go-to-market product and is now an IIT Madras incubated startup with several patents and aggressive expansion plans. “The first agency we hired when we started the business was Kria Law as we had patents to file on our inventions,” says Aiyer. “We were recommended to the IIT Madras Incubation Cell by Bharath Vathul of Kria law. We were interviewed and inducted there,” she says. With that induction came their first funding round. We have raised `1.15 crore seed investment so far from IIT Madras Incubation Cell’s ‘Little Angels Network’ and we’re looking to raise $3 million in the next two years,” she adds.

Vetinstant has developed a set of IoT (internet of things) devices that would “integrate themselves into the life of a pet like a bed, a bowl and a collar and track basic vitals,” she says. “Then with further feedback from vets we produced a hand-held device to monitor the vitals of animals digitally and non-invasively.” Currently the device is being tested by govt and private veterinary hospitals and clinics all over Tamil Nadu.

Aiyer says initially the going was tough. “We used to cold call vets and wait for hours so they would test the Woofnosis exam device, which is a patented device to measure temperature, oxygen saturation, heart rate, heart and lung auscultation (breathing sounds),” she says. “They would then follow it up with their current methodology and be completely floored by the possibility of quick, painless data at hand. Vivek and I would come out of those vet conversations with ear-to-ear grins,” she says.

What helped was that all four partners in the company are pet lovers. For Vani, Vivek, S Rajkumar and Karthikeyan Gururaj, this is a calling not a career. “Our CTO Karthikeyan Gururaj lost two of his pets suddenly to medical emergencies,” says Aiyer. “Initially Vetinstant was his client for technology platform development but he joined as partner because he felt data and devices like these could have saved his dogs. The fourth partner, who has designed the end-to-end IoT devices, is doing his second masters degree at IIT Madras in biomedical design.

The team is young – apart from Aiyer who is 50, Vivek is 37 and Rajkumar and Gururaj are both 27 – and committed to making a difference to pet care. Currently the company is focusing on Chennai and Bengaluru as markets but plan to go pan-India by end of this year. The scale strategy is to digitise more than 1,000 veterinary practices (single or clinic or hospitals) by December 2025. After which there will be expansion.

“In the next three to five years we expect the business to cater to not just small pets but cattle and horses as well. We also want to go to global markets such as the US and Canada with our devices,” says Aiyer.

  • Published On Jun 3, 2024 at 10:25 AM IST

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