WeVets wants to create the ‘Rede D’Or for pets’

WeVets wants to create the ‘Rede D’Or for pets’

Pet retail is consolidating around a few names — but the niche market that deals with pet health is still a true blue ocean.

There is no consolidated network of hospitals for pets, and the market remains fragmented into unprofessionalized regional hospitals.

Two former BTG executives are trying to change that.

Chang Lee, who worked for six years in the bank’s private equity, and Rodrigo Gatti Pinheiro, a former analyst in the same area, are building WeVets, a kind of ‘Rede D’Or for pets’ — buying leading hospitals in this sector and opening others from scratch.

The founders think that the analogy with the Moll company is imperfect: “Our business model is much closer to an Oncoclínicas than Rede D’Or. As it is the neighborhood veterinarians who refer our hospitals, the relationship is very important.”

WeVets already has a portfolio of seven hospitals — including Hospital Rebouças, one of the most traditional in São Paulo, and Mundo Animal, a benchmark in Porto Alegre.

To finance the venture, WeVets has already raised R$100 million with TreeCorp, the same manager that invested in Zee.Dog, now part of Petz.

“Instead of focusing on low value-added services, we are focusing only on high complexity: diagnoses, hospitalizations, surgeries and specialties like cardiologists and oncologists,” Chang told the Brazil Journal. “There are already many of these regional hospitals, which are run by veterinarians. But we are bringing professionalism, best practices and technology to offer truly cutting-edge medicine.”

The niche is unprofessionalized, which makes the opportunity gigantic.

In addition to WeVets, there are only two other players betting on this front: Pet Care, which has five units in São Paulo, and Seres, which belongs to Petz and has a few high-complexity hospitals, in addition to a wide network of veterinary clinics. .

WeVets’ plan is to reach 20 hospitals within 12 to 18 months, with a mix of acquisitions and greenfield. As Brazil has 500 hospitals for pets, the expansion would already give WeVets a market share of around 4%.

Sounds like a lot, but it’s a fraction of the American market. For comparison, VCA — the largest network of veterinary hospitals in the world — has 2,000 hospitals in the United States and Canada alone.

“The process of professionalizing the sector is still very incipient in Brazil, so the scales are really small,” said Bruno Levi D’ancona, a partner at TreeCorp. “We split the sector into two waves. The first was the consolidation of healthy products and products. Now, it is the turn of services and health.”

The founders say that WeVets has an advantage over players like Seres by being independent of a retail player — which allows the neighborhood clinic to see the company as a partner.

“The neighborhood veterinarian earns money from the clinic, from retailing and from grooming, which is the main thing,” said Rodrigo. “He won’t want to refer his patient to Seres because when he gets there, he might prefer to use their clinic, bathe there and buy the products at Petz. With us, he has no conflict. On the contrary, we help them make money.”

WeVets created a program called VetFriendly, which gives incentives to veterinarians who refer their patients to network hospitals — further leveraging this competitive advantage.

Today, VetFriendly is already one of the main customer origination channels, along with individuals. Unlike human hospitals, health plans still have minimal penetration.

WeVets “is doing the work that no one wants to do, going from hospital to hospital, talking to each owner…” Bruno said. “Everyone wants a network of 800 hospitals in Brazil, but no one wants to do this work of building piece by piece.”

Source: Brazil Journal

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