Petabyte Technology, a cloud platform for veterinarians, raises $8M

Steven Loeb · December 11, 2019 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4f43

The company's cloud-based platform is called Rhapsody

Just a warning to animal lovers: the next paragraph is kind of rough.

My cat recently turned 17 and, sadly, he's starting to have some very serious health problems. He has arthrisis, he doesn't eat as much and it's becoming obvious that he's approaching what is likely the end of his life. These days, my mother spends a ton of time now with her vet, both in person and on the phone, trying to figure out what's going on with him, and her job suddenly isn't only to help the cat and diagnose him, but also to help my mother through this process. 

The reality is that while veterinarians are, in some ways, like any other small business, but they also operate in their own unique space, said Michael Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Petabyte Technology, a provider of cloud-based enterprise solutions for vets.

"Like many small businesses, veterinary practices face increasing workloads with ever tighter margins. They need to be medical generalists, specialists, grief counselors, managers, and business people, all wrapped up in one," he said.

"Historically they haven't had good software to help them, so they often also need to run a small IT setup and juggle many poorly built and barely interoperating software packages. On top of that, their audience is increasingly millennial, but their tools still live in a world of postcards and fax machines."

Petabyte’s solution, which is called Rhapsody, looks to solve some of these issues by providing veterinary clinics with a cloud-based platform that includes tools such as unique standardized codes and a virtual medical exam.

"We take a very different approach, and we do so with a business model that is vet friendly, where we grow if they grow, said Hyman. "Our software is mobile and cloud-based. The practice no longer needs to maintain servers and switches. They can use Rhapsody from the desktop, tablet, or phone, and they can use it from any location, at a house call, in surgery, or an office or front desk."

On Wednesday, Petabyte announced that it raised an $8 million Series A round of funding of $8 million led by Acrew Capital, along with Greycroft PartnersCorrelation Ventures and Ridge Ventures. The company had previously raised a $2.75 million seed round from Greycroft, Loeb NYC and Ridge.

The Rhapsody platform

Rhapsody is designed for both standalone general animal clinics and multi-practice groups, as well as mobile and walk-in clinics, though, at the moment, the company is putting its focus on serving general practices. 

It takes a very different approach than other packages, said Hyman, as Rhapsody is built on the team's experience of consulting with veterinarians on improving their practices over decades. That's why the software has features that focus on reducing workload, while also capturing better medical information. 

"As a concrete example, veterinarians follow a practice called SOAP, which moves along a process from examining the animal to diagnosing and creating a treatment plan. For the other products on the market, the software lets you type in notes for what you see, that's it. Our software walks through the process. From a tablet, you can click on each body system you are examining, and you can then note anything abnormal. If you do, you can drill down to specific details, all with tapping on the tablet rather than writing on paper," he explained.

In addition, Rhapsody also comes with data about things like veterinary procedures, surgeries, and drugs.

"If you have a practice with three veterinarians in it, you may have three or more names for each procedure or drug. For example, doctor one may diagnose kennel cough and doctor two, CIRD. It is the same disease. Other software packages can't analyze the patterns, standardize prices, or make sure all charges are billed correctly. Rhapsody solves this problem."

When it comes to on-boarding it's clients, Hyman says the company takes "a radical approach," due to all the data vet clinics have in their management systems, which makes migrating from their legacy systems costly and time consuming. To solve that problem, Petabyte built automated tools to migrate from the main legacy systems, such as Avimark, Cornerstone, and Impromed.

"Importantly, veterinary practices not only get all of their data and prices moved over, but we clean and standardize it along the way. For example, if a doctor charges for spays and another doctor charges for ovariohysterectomies, which are the same procedure, we move both to a standardized code. Pricing anomalies get fixed. Inventory gets normalized. And it is all done automatically, eliminating a potential barrier to moving to Rhapsody."

Right now, Rhapsody is free for its clients; however, the company does require that practices use its integrated payment services, which is how it makes money.

"There are costs associated with merchant services anyway, so our model is incredibly business-friendly. We grow when our customers grow, and our interests are aligned."

New talent

In addition to the funding, Petabyte also announced that Tim Mahlman, former president of Verizon Media’s ad platform business, has joined the company's Board, and that he will also be acting as Petabyte’s President going forward. Mahlman and Hyman had previously co-founded video management and exchange platform Vidible together, which was bought by AOL in 2014.

"Startups are roller coaster rides, filled with endless challenges. Tim, and I have gone through this together before. We have an efficiency of language, we know how to help each other and the different skills we each bring, and more importantly, we trust each other in a way borne through years of working together in challenging circumstances," said Hyman.

"We have very different perspectives and skillsets, and they play off each other well, something that makes us a team rather than a collection of individuals."

In addition, there will two other new members to its board of directors: Vishal Lugani, partner at Acrew Capital, and Ian Sigalow, co-founder and partner at Greycroft Partners.

"We're excited to have Ian and Vishal join the board. They and our other investors have strong connections throughout many different industries, and that will be very important as we grow our partnerships. Tim and I have both worked with them in our last company together, and we look forward to continuing. Having sharp, focused, well-connected allies is an incredible advantage that we are blessed to have."

Expanding out its client-base

Petabyte has offices in Bellevue, New York, Cleveland, Naples, and San Francisco, and with this funding it plans to expand its customer service teams, growing its 25-person headcount. The funding will also go toward product development, with the immediate goal of widening its audience and rolling out to more practices; currently, the company is still limiting the number of customers it brings on the platform and has a queue for those wanting to come on board. 

"We have numerous features we are in the middle of, ranging from integrated lab vendor support, enhancements to our appointment scheduler, invoice and estimate enhancements, the release of our API, and more and better business intelligence features," said Hyman. 

The ultimate goal with Petabyte, he told me, is to "build a large company with a strong and positive impact on the industry."

 "I grew up on a small farm. We always said, 'Don't count your chickens before they hatch,' but, ultimately, it is a huge space, and there exist an enormous number of areas in the space where we can invent and improve," he said.

"The success of Petabyte come down to the people, we have a great group of team members, all aligned to build world class software for the veterinarian industry, which is no easy feat, but we are confident we have the right blend of experts to achieve this vision.  The recent news on the fundraising hopefully will attract hospitals and clinics to learn about us and try the software out for themselves.  So far, once they try it out, they don’t switch back which has been gratifying to all of us."

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