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There are plenty of startups out there now dedicated to helping people get their medications in an easy and timely matter; it has become a big space, with a lot of major players, including NowRX, Capsule, Blink Health, Medly, PillPack and Amazon Pharmacy.
Mixlab is a company operating in the same space, but with a twist: instead of offering a service for humans, it works directly with veterinarians so that pet parents can easily order medications for their animals, receiving them as quickly as the same day. That includes branded, generic, compounded, and over-the-counter products.
The company, which was founded in 2017, announced a $20 million round of funding on Monday, led by Sonoma Brands, with participation from Global Founders Capital, Monogram Capital, Lakehouse Ventures, Brand Foundry and others, bringing its total raised to $28.5 million.
The idea for Mixlab came when Fred Dijols, the company's CEO and co-founder, had a pet that needed medications for a chronic illness and he had what he described as, "literally had the worst experience of my life buying anything."
"We took a model that's a little bit antiquated and added technology to speed up prescriber workflow to work with veterinarians to allow them to prescribe quickly, track where orders are, make sure that they can rely on a pharmacy partner, and then also create an unbelievable amazing consumer experience," he said.
"We're really trying to redefine that pet pharmacy experience for pet parents, and add convenience."
Doing this kind of prescription delivery is actually a more complicated in the veterinary world than it is in the human world, he explained, partially because vets typically sell their medications directly to their customers, meaning that the company had to partner with them directly. On top of that, there's also the issue of compounding, which means actually making the medications to conform to each pet's needs.
Roughly half the medications that Mixlabs delivers are currently created in-house, while the other half are commercially available and can be bought from distributors or manufacturers.
"It happens very often that pets need more appropriately dosed medications. Pets come in all different shapes and sizes but you can't cut a pill into eighths, since that creates a lot of powder. Also, a lot of pets have a discerning palate and they want to have their chicken flavored treat instead of having a pill shoved down their throat. So, that's what makes it a little bit different."
Since Mixlabs partners with the vets, the majority of its business comes from having the veterinarians refer the company to the pet parents who come into their practice. The vets put the prescription on the platform, then Mixlab will reach out to the pet parent to sign them up, which often even before they've left the vets office.
Once they sign up, a box arrives at their door with a toy that changes every time, with really clear and easy to read instructions, as well as a funny note from the pharmacist to the pet. The idea is to help pet parents stay compliant with these medications, so Mixlabs will check in after a couple days via text, along with automated refill reminders.
Because the company has so many different drugs, consumers pay for every order they place, rather than needing to sign up for a membership; they are able to save money, however, if they choose the auto ship option.
While the company doesn't disclose how many vets or how many pet parents are on its platform, Dijols would disclose that Mixlabs has seen those numbers grow over 5x from 2019. In addition, the company also saw its revenue grow 3x year-over-year.
Now that it has this new funding, the company plans to use it to expand its team; it currently has about 100 employees, and it will be hiring key executives, while also focusing on growing its teams across the organization in three main areas: technology, operations, and sales and marketing.
The company will also be expanding geographically, launching new fulfillment centers in the Midwest and in the South; currently, the company has fulfillment centers in New York and Los Angeles, and it plans to expand its same day delivery option to more markets.
Finally, it will also be use to build out its product. On the pet parent side, it also plans to build out its app. the pet parent side, to have a real app eventually, while it plans to offer better integrations into veterinarian practice management systems to give them a more streamlined experience, with features such as dosage calculations.
"There is a component which we have not launched yet, but it's coming. I can't talk about it too much, but there is a component of us being able to retain revenue for these veterinarians, and to partner with them to prevent prescriptions from going out to Chewy or 1-800-PetMeds, and staying in house in their ecosystem. So, that is coming online; we haven't launched it yet, but there's going be an announcement at some point," Dijols told me.
The ultimate goal for Mixlabs is to build a company that adds value for its customers, meaning both the vets and the pet parents.
"Overall, the thing that we're doing, and that's very differentiated, is building this brand. It's like a win-win-win type of brand, where we're helping veterinarians help pet parents, and we just want to make sure everybody is happy, including the pets. That is what will make us successful in the industry, to help patients help pets, and to make sure that they're healthy and happy. So, that's our mission."
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