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‘The Xero of pet software’: how one SaaS company is taking on the global veterinary industry

The company first took its cloud-based vetinerary management software to market five years ago, but in the last two years, ezyVet has now tripled in size, while also recently signing a deal with one of the top three vet schools in the world, US Ivy League college Cornell University.

The partnership means staff, students, interns and residents across seven facilities at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals will be using the ezyVet cloud-hosted practice management system, which is a hefty achievement for a company whose headquarters are tucked away in Auckland’s CBD.

The move means that 65 percent of its revenue now comes from North America, while another 22 percent comes from Australia, hence ezyVet’s low profile in New Zealand. Its global aspirations are also reflected in the recent hiring of a chief growth officer, Wayne Oxenham, and chief operations officer, David Leach.

L-R: David Leach and Wayne Oxenham

Oxenham was previously president of Orion Health North America, while Leach was chief executive of Spark’s big data venture Qrious.

Leach says ezyVet’s impact has been understated when compared to other New Zealand software businesses, but says it has a unique offering.

“They have a great track record in a global veterinary healthcare market that is ripe for disruption,” he says.

Unlike other industries that have fast adopted cloud-based services, vets have been pretty slow on the uptake of cloud-based technology to make their workplaces more efficient. EzyVet CEO and founder Hadleigh Bognuda says just five percent of US practices are using cloud-based systems, but the times are now changing.

“As we saw with accounting software all of a sudden the bulk of businesses moved in a short space of time, and we’ll see that in the vet space as well.”

With ezyVet, practices run their day-to-day operations on a cloud platform, such as making appointments and storing patients records. They can also integrate other tech, such as x-ray imaging software, into the system.

“We are the only truly enterprise veterinary software solution in the cloud that enables groups of hospitals to consolidate their individual facilities into one set of data,” Bognuda says. “It’s exciting. We’re up there on the world stage doing something great.”

The business now has offices in Dallas, Texas and London, and Bognuda says its biggest challenge at present in finding top talent quickly enough to fill the roles being created.

Dallas was a deliberate decision instead of Silicon Valley so it wouldn’t be competing with other tech companies for staff, chief financial officer Pete Brown says.

And a recent trend in the veterinary industry is also working to the company’s advantage. Big businesses are buying up ‘Mum and Dad’ practices, with Brown saying one company that uses ezyVet now owning 150 practices across the US.

The company wants an efficient software that can be rolled out across many practices using legacy systems, which Brown says works out perfectly for ezyVet.

“[It’s] an opportunity for us because we can move quite fast,” Brown says.

Going forward, thanks to a recent Innovation Growth Grant from Callaghan Innovation, ezyVet will now be focused on turning the vast swarms of data contained within its platform into useful predictive tools through AI and machine learning.

It will be working with the Cornell University network and other universities on developing these technologies by tracking user data. EzyVet Callaghan Innovation Marshall Couper says the company’s commitment to investigating the potential of these new technologies will allow them to become the “Xero of vet software”.

Bognuda says AI could play a helping hand in solving important issues facing the animal health sector, like the management of disease outbreaks. EzyVet has also been geo-coding its customers’ data for the past five years and can analyse clinical and financial trends by geographic region.

“Just having the ability to heat map that stuff in real time is going to become more and more relevant,” Bognuda says.

“We’ve probably got the biggest repository of veterinary medical data of any cloud provider in the world. Certainly, the future is all around how we can leverage the big data that we’ve collected.”

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