The Philippines has seen a significant increase in pet ownership, with 79% of the population now owning a pet, one of the highest percentages in Asia. With the surge in pet ownership, many struggle to find affordable, convenient veterinary care options for their beloved animals with just one vet available for every 10,000 pet owners in the country.
917Ventures, the largest corporate venture builder in the Philippines, created PetPal to address this market gap. Launched as a vet teleconsultation service, it has recently started to offer at-home grooming services, home vet visits, lab tests, and vaccinations. It also plans to launch an online pharmacy and marketplace for other pet-related goods, supplies and other services. Their PetPal Club subscription service provides users unlimited teleconsultations for up to two pets annually, along with discounts on pet services. A mobile app version is expected to launch later this year.
Carlo Flordeliza, a Senior Venture Builder at 917Ventures, conceived the idea of PetPal after recognizing a gaping need for a comprehensive online pet care platform. The platform aimed to broaden access to veterinary services and champion responsible pet ownership. The motivation for PetPal was deeply personal after experiencing firsthand the challenges of finding an available vet when his dog, Pippin, urgently needed care.
“PetPal addresses a gap in the pet care market for convenient, accessible, and cost-effective healthcare services for pets. According to ASPCA, a significant number of pets rarely see a veterinarian due to their owners facing substantial challenges such as cost issues and unavailability of veterinarians. These barriers can lead pet owners to delay or skip veterinary treatments, or even abandon their pets. Affordable telehealth services like PetPal can address this while also helping pet owners avoid additional expenses related to transportation, travel time, or missed work,” said Carlo Flordeliza, Senior Venture Builder at 917Ventures.
The clamor for these services is not confined to the Philippines as the pet care market in Southeast Asia grew to a sizable US$1.6 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to US$3.08 billion by 2032. Recognizing the potential of the sector, 917Ventures aims to make comprehensive pet care accessible and help the local industry address challenges through digitization, ensuring its growth is in line with the rest of the world.
“More than half of Asia’s population have pets and we see PetPal and pet telehealth services at large as a transformative solution that not only caters to the demands of modern pet owners but also redefines the way veterinary care is accessed and administered, ushering in a new era of convenience, accessibility, and comprehensive well-being for pets,” said Vince Yamat, Managing Director at 917Ventures.
“By offering a platform, PetPal enables veterinary practitioners to reach a wider audience, deliver crucial services to more pet owners and their pets, and advocate for responsible pet ownership. Additionally, PetPal can also foster economic growth by stimulating demand and therefore creating new revenue streams and potentially generating jobs within the pet service sector,” added Yamat.
Since its launch, PetPal has conducted thousands of consultations nationwide where partner vets provided guidance on pet nutrition and behavior to first-time pet owners and helped seasoned pet parents book schedules for their pets, fitting them into their busy lives.