PET TELEHEALTH platform PetPal is looking at three Southeast Asian countries as possible locations where its services can also be launched, according to its creator 917Ventures.
“We believe that there’s a lot of potential for PetPal to help address the pet-veterinary gap across the region, especially in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam where 70% of the population owns pets,” 917Ventures Entrepreneur-in-Residence Miguel Antonio I. Guerrero told BusinessWorld via e-mail interview.
“We are currently prioritizing improving operations and overall experience for our customers,” he said, citing onboarding more services and introducing more clinics and vets on the platform.
“We are open to exploring partnerships across Southeast Asia to bring PetPal to these markets as well,” he added.
917Ventures is a corporate venture builder wholly owned by listed telco firm Globe Telecom, Inc. PetPal was established by 917Ventures to meet the market demand for pet veterinary care options.
In the near term, Mr. Guerrero said PetPal is focusing on onboarding more clinics, more vets, and more services to become a comprehensive pet telehealth platform.
“Pet healthcare is still a small and underpenetrated segment so we foresee significant growth for this in the coming years with PetPal spearheading responsible pet ownership in the Philippines,” Mr. Guerrero said.
According to Mr. Guerrero, the Philippine market is already “mature enough” for services such as PetPal due to rising demand and pet ownership.
“Based on the acceptance and the uptake of services we offer on PetPal and how more and more pet owners are using the platform, the Philippine market isn’t only mature enough to embrace pet telehealth but that there is a clamor for these kinds of services,” Mr. Guerrero said.
A 2021 Rakuten survey in Asia showed that the Philippines had the highest dog ownership percentage in the region at 67%, and the second-highest cat ownership percentage at 43%.
“Still, many pet owners still face significant challenges when it comes to seeking vet care for their pets due to issues like high costs or a lack of available veterinarians. These obstacles often result in pet owners delaying or even skipping necessary veterinary treatments, or worse, abandoning their pets altogether,” Mr. Guerrero said.
Citing data from Euromonitor, Mr. Guerrero said the local pet healthcare industry was valued at P1.1 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach a 9% compound annual growth rate.
He added that the Southeast Asian pet care industry reached $1.6 billion in value last year and is projected to hit $3.08 billion by 2032.
“To ensure that the growth of the industry is in line with the rest of the world, pet telehealth services like PetPal are crucial in helping the local industry address challenges through digitization while ensuring that pet owners and their pets are given access to comprehensive pet care services,” Mr. Guerrero said.
Launched in February, PetPal has over 1,000 vets and 200 clinics on the platform. It partners with vets, clinics, and pet care service providers to help them reach a wider market. Aside from vet teleconsultation, the platform also offers at-home grooming services, home vet visits, lab tests, and vaccinations. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave