These pet parents launched an online platform for booking at-home veterinary services in Tier II regions
Anirban Chanda comes from a family of veterinary doctors. Hence, when his pets would fall sick or need any kind of health consultation, seeking veterinary intervention at any point in the day or night was never a problem for him.
“Not every pet parent is that lucky when it comes to easy access to vets, especially in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities,” he says, in a chat with YourStory.
Looking at this gap as an opportunity, Anirban started, a digital platform for pet owners through which they could book online or on-ground consultations with veterinarians. The platform also provides access to pet medicines.
Run by Onpets Animal Care LLP., the platform was launched in September 2021 by Anirban, who earlier worked at Airtel, and his friend Sandipan Guha, a computer engineering graduate.
“Before starting in September, we spent at least five to six months researching, understanding and beta testing with a few users in the market,” says Anirban. The founders also spoke with at least 300 pet parents before rolling out their portal.
Kolkata-based Onpets currently caters to pet owners in the city and across nearby towns like Siliguri, Burdwan, and Guwahati in Assam, and Bhubaneswar in Odisha .
To facilitate home visits by veterinarians, Onpets has a team of veterinarians in every city they provide services in. While Kolkata has the biggest number of vets, 15, other cities where the platform is operational have at least 3-4 veterinary doctors on board. In all, 22 vets work with Onpets on a full-time basis along with four paravets or pet groomers.
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The vets and groomers, who work with Onpets, are hired as full time employees, claims Anirban, and do not practice with any other institution for the time being.
According to Anirban, all the veterinary doctors on board the platform are selected through a diligent process, with each vet having a minimum of four years of work experience among other educational qualifications. “To make our model successful, it is important to have the best professionals serving our users,” says Anirban.
Last-mile delivery and bubbling competition
Onpets also has its own last-mile delivery service to fulfill medicine orders as the firm wants to decrease the time it takes to deliver pet medicines. “Every city has a medicine distributor. So, we tie up with them and have our own personnel delivering the medicines,” says Anirban.
Many cities in India as well as the world over saw pet adoption soaring during the pandemic. Social isolation due to lockdowns led to many resorting to adopt a furry companion. In India, the number of pet dogs alone are expected to reach 31.41 million by 2023 compared to 21.24 million in 2019, according to Statista.
It is little wonder then to see the sheer number of pet startups doing well in recent years. Heads Up for Tails, a Delhi-based pet food and grooming omni-channel firm, got a major boost during the pandemic, also attracting venture backing from Sequoia Capital India, among others.
Other startups in the pet space– including Pune-based Pawfect, Supertails, which is headquartered in Bengaluru and backed by Alteria Capital, and Ahmedabad-based Just Dogs, a pet product firm, and D2C pet care brand Wiggles also joined this burgeoning sector.
Anirban claims, in the last eight months since its inception, Onpets has gained a user base of 800 customers with a 27 percent retention rate. The bootstrapped firm also expects to generate Rs 40 lakhs in revenue for FY2022-23, and aims to grow this number to 6,000 customers by the end of the financial year.
“We also get requests from Bengaluru and Gurugram, among other metro cities, for online consultations. But we see a bigger gap in tier II and III three cities,” says Anirban.
In the near future, Onpets aims to expand its operations to Dispur and a few other towns in West Bengal. The startup is also aiming to reduce the time taken for last-mile delivery and looking to add more vets on the platform.
“Currently, once a pet parent places a request, our veterinary doctors reach in two to three hours. We want to bring it down to 60-90 mins. Similarly, we want to bring down the medicine delivery time as well,” concludes Anirban.