WHU alumni Mareile Wölwer (BSc 2016) and Dr. Felix Röllecke (BSc 2012, MSc 2014, DR 2016) presented their company vetevo in the new season of "Die Höhle der Löwen" (DHDL) [the German version of the American series "Shark Tank"]. The episode was broadcasted on September 10, 2019, at 8:15 pm on VOX. In an interview, the founders of the online animal health provider report on their experiences on the show.
First of all: Congratulations on having dared to venture into the "cave" with your start-up. How did you feel during the pitch, and how do you best prepare for such a performance?
It was a completely new, exciting and at the same time, a great experience for us to stand in front of the "lions" and so many cameras in the studio. Felix and I prepared ourselves intensively for the show. We thoroughly thought about the stage design and our performance to communicate in the pitch what our vision and motivation behind vetevo are. We did not give much thought to the possible questions of the "lions" in advance, because we have all the facts and figures about vetevo in our heads. We are also used to being in contact with experienced investors.
Now some time has passed since the filming. What has happened since then?
Since filming in the spring of this year, we have developed well. Adding to the expansion of the vetevo platform, we have expanded our range of services and included our laboratory and a pharmacy. With the help of the platform, our customer can now view the entire health record of his animal, containing the laboratory results of the test kits and recommendations for action. Our laboratory in Potsdam, opened this summer, simplifies our processes through internal analysis. Thus, we guarantee the customer a fast, high quality, and transparent laboratory analysis. To enable animal owners, who received positive findings, with comfortable treatment, including the suitable medicine and the correct dosage from home, we attached a pharmacy to vetevo. Thus, we start now supplementing the diagnostics into a further substantial range of veterinary medicine and make as the first provider in Germany modern, holistic health care possible without going to the veterinarian.
What can you recommend to other founders, who think about participating in the television show?
We both appreciate that we had the opportunity to perform at DHDL. To us, it is a form of recognition for everything that we have built up together as a team and thanks to the feedback from our customers over the past few months. That is why we can strongly recommend all founders with product-market fit and positive customer feedback to join DHDL.
You offered a deal of 1.1 million euros for a 10 percent share of the company but did not make a deal. How did you feel about the lions’ decision?
It was a pity that we did not get a deal from the lions. But we are not disappointed. We are used to being in contact with experienced investors. If we decide to take an investor on board, we choose him very carefully. After all, our priority is to grow and learn together. That is why we pay explicit attention to a shared mindset when it comes to our values and ambitions. Unfortunately, it did not work out in the cave. However, we have learned a lot from our performance and the feedback from the lions. With our current circle of investors, we are more than happy.
What are you taking with you from the show and what plans do you have for vetevo?
vetevo is already the number 1 contact point for animal health for more than 15,000 animal owners. We dream that every animal owner uses vetevo for the health of his four-legged friends. Many of our friends are pet owners, and nothing pleases us more than noticing that they also use our products and services more and more. In the future, we will do everything we can to provide an even better customer experience. Two things are particularly important to us: the quality of our products and services and simplicity and transparency for our customers. To this end, we will continue to expand the vetevo platform. In this way, we can support pet owners in taking care of the health of their animals beyond their veterinary practice. We see great potential in using vetevo to counteract some of the significant challenges positively in the healthcare of pets, such as drug resistance, and to improve animal health on a large scale.
vetevo, founded in 2016, is the digital veterinarian who uses advanced technologies to make the dog, cat, and horse health care intuitive and straightforward for pet owners. vetevo is the first online provider for animal health to offer holistic health care for dogs, cats, and horses from the comfort of your own home with the help of a personalized health assistant, own laboratory and pharmacy.