1. Executive Summary
The Case study describes in details the venture planning problems faced by Vetchat which is an online vet-health portal. Dr. Claire Jenkins and Mat Hall founded Vetchat. Dr. Claire Jenkins has been a vet for over 15 years (SheStarts, 2017, p.1). The company was made a reality with the help of BlueChilli's SheStarts Program and Artesian VC. The idea was facilitated by Dr. Claire's love for pets and her desire to reach as many pet lovers as possible. According to Dr. Claire, the problem was that lots of pet's owners' lost their animals due to late diagnosis and followed up treatment. Just like any other startup, Vetchat faced its fair share of problems. These problems included adoption and integration of technology, funding for the project and acceptance of telemedicine. The adaptation and integration of the technology problem were brought by the need to develop a real-time web solution that will reflect the value proposition of the company. A partnership with the SheStarts program solved the technology problem through their acceleration team which comprised of brilliant technical minds and analysts who brought the idea into life. The insufficient funding problem, Vetchat received seed money from the SheStarts program and Artesian VC totaling to A$100K. This alongside financial planning and advice from the best analysts' in the market propelled the startup to its heights as the best go-to on-demand online vet-health program. The recommendation led to better and informed financial decision that is vital to the success of any startup. Acceptance of telemedicine was a problem for both the customers and the vets. Some accused the startup of being a deterrent to the norms in the society and sited self-gain and laziness as some attributes of Vetchat. The solution was sensitizing and training the public on the benefits of the platform and sharing reviews of the success of the platform. Telemedicine is still at its infancy in Australia a factor which explains the reluctance to adopt the technology.
Pets just like human beings are prone to sickness, and often they need medical attention; may it be a first aid or a visit to the ER. Getting the right person to consult promptly draws the line between the survival and demise of the pets. Vetchat which was founded in the year 2015 is an online vet-care program that offers pre-clinic veterinary consultations and advice through video consultation and on-demand chat with experienced and qualified vets who are pets owners and professionals. Vetchat seeks to eliminate the consequences of delayed advice by providing a reliable real-time platform where customers can get advice and vet services irrespective of their geographical location. Vetchat had problems which were identified as; adopting and integration of technology, funding for the project and acceptance of telemedicine.
Adaptation and Integration of Technology
Over the years, veterinary services have been conducted using physical consultations. However, with the limited number of vets and the ever-growing number of pet owners, the need for the veterinary facility is insatiable. In a profession where physical consultation is deemed productive, adaptation and integration of technology is a significant challenge. Both vets and customers are affected by the introduction of the platform. Vetchat needs a technology platform which is informed of an active real-time website to enable it to achieve its objectives. The web-based platform should bring about the value proposition to the company. Development of such a website requires knowledge and research in web design and programming as well as e-commerce knowledge which encompasses an understanding of various business models (Gielnik & Covin, 2015, p.760). The founders of the Vetchat need technical expertise and support to put its dreams of building an interactive telemedicine platform into reality which is identified as a significant problem for the venture.
Funding For the Project
Vetchat is a merge between a practice that is more physical and technical. Thus, Vetchat needs funds to run their daily operations successfully online. To run a business online is very demanding and often involves the use of technology that is not cheap to come by (Gielnik et al., 2014, p. 770). It involves large data traffic to cover video chats and live chats. Vetchat requires about A$100K seed money to successfully realize its dream of providing quality and universal vet services.
Acceptance of Telemedicine by the Public
In Australia, telemedicine is in its infancy, and many people have not warmed up to the use of technology in receiving healthcare. Some tend to think that telemedicine will replace the physical need of a vet thus are reluctant to adopt the new technology. Convincing the public about the need and benefits of a telemedicine vet-care platform was identified as a problem for the company (Gielnik et al., 2014, p. 763). It would also take a lot of resources to market the business and adopt a profit-making product. Telemedicine is seen as jeopardizing the very practice of veterinary which for decades has been a physical type of healthcare program. Both the vets and the customers were identified as potential barriers to the success of the business.
Problem 1: Adaptation and Integration of Technology
Process: Telecommunication Venture
Solution: Access to Technological Support and Public Sensitization
To develop a successful online platform that covers the need of the clients and brings about value proposition and addition, Vetchat needs to consider using the best of technology available. The technology includes the adoption of vibrant UX technology that which will give the users the required experience and deliver on the value proposition of the product (Bailetti et al., 2012, p.251). More so, the use of mobile phone compatible technology enables the users of the service to record and share their concern from the comfort of their mobile phone (Garrett Jr, & Covin, 2015, p. 778). Everyone owns or has access to a phone thus making it easier for pet owners to contact the veterinary officers at Vetchat through the website. Google analytics is another technology will enable the businesses to to keep track of customer needs by accessing useful insights from data received (Bailetti et al., 2012, p.158). The ideas will improve market performance and target the right customers will improving products and services. Vetchat will also deploy the viewpoint Meta technology that enables control of content viewership through different devices used by customers. The viewpoint technology will ensure that the contents and services of the website can be accessed through multiple devices globally with at most ease (Garrett Jr, & Covin, 2015, p. 776). Sensitization of the public is vital to the success of the venture. Sharing success stories of pet lives saved through the use of Vetchat helps in changing people perspective about telemedicine.
Problem 2: Funding For the Project
Process: Financial Aid and Sound Planning
Solution: Grants and Seed Money
For the venture to be successful, Vetchat has to overcome the financial barrier that it faces. The founders decided to sources their finance from two investors one being the Artesian VC which is a full stuck firm in Australia. The firm offers seed money to startups through the various growth stages of the venture (Hannafey, 2003, p.106). Artesian VC offered to inject A$50K into Vetchat as the first seed money. The second source of capital is BlueChilli which strengthens startups to achieve impactful and investable global technology status. The company offered A$50K seed money which was won through the SheStarts accelerator program (SheStarts, 2017). The company also provides much needed financial planning by providing administrative access to financial advice from the best analyst and tech minds (Ordanini et al., 2011, p.452).
Risk analysis will be necessary for the venture to identify the various risks associated with taking the vet services online (Pantiuchina et al., 2017, p.172). It will help build a mitigation strategy through proper study and considerations of solutions to any problem that may arise during the operation of the business (Honig & Hopp, 2016, p.87). More so, the adaptation of concept investment which will enable Vetchat to analyze its potential through analysis of data collected from the website and broken down using analytical tools thus provides a clear understanding of its position as an online vet healthcare platform (VetChat, 2018). Winning the seed money from BlueChilli's SheStarts program is a significant boost to the venture as well as the seed money invested by ArtesianVC.
The case study of Vetchat Company raised three problems which were adaptation and integration of technology, insufficient capital, and acceptance of telemedicine. To become the go-to online vet service provider, Vetchat needed Financial and technological support. The founders struggled with technological changes and advancements in telecommunications before the SheStart's program. The seed money and support awarded to the company ails from the uniqueness and passion of the founders of Vetchat as well as their insatiable courage to venture into the unknown (SheStarts, 2017, p.1).
Financial support, planning, and advice come in handy for any startup with many of them failing to succeed due to lack of the same (Smolka, 2017, p.189). Vetchat's decision to engage professionals helped build and restructure its value proposition turning the company into a resource generating venture. The company received A$100K which was invested in the different aspects of the business.
5. Critical Evaluation
The solutions identified for the platform as the adaptation of technology, sensitization of the public and seeking financial assistance will work venture. The world is changing, and technologies have become part of our daily lives thus it is important to think of adopting technological solutions critically (Swinney et al., 2005, p.110). Telecommunication has brought about the aspect of telemedicine which is a vast reaching venture that targets a global market (Salampasis, 2018, p.129). Sensitizing the public and other professionals about the benefits of technological solutions is part of the success of any investment. Startups fail due to lack of financial backup; thus it is crucial to set up funding to support this new venture (Yau, & Murphy, 2013, p.15). The situation can be seen in the case of SheStarts program which supports ladies in their businesses.
Delayed care for pets is a procastinated well-being. Every time a delay happens since no one is aware of what to do next, a pet's life is lost. Immediacy should be brought into the product that there is no need to have the online services if the services can't be delivered to the customer. This will ensure value proposition for the product by building a website that provides the functions similar to prior practice and better. Access to funds through soft loans and seed money is crucial to the success of any startup. Financial backing from investors such as SheStarts program and Artesian VC makes it easy for a startup to thrive.
Bailetti, T., Bot, S.D., Duxbury, T., Hudson, D., McPhee, C., Muegge, S., Weiss, M., Wells, J. and Westerlund, M., 2012. An overview of four issues on technology entrepreneurship in the TIM Review. Technology Innovation Management Review, 2(5).
Garrett Jr, R. P., & Covin, J. G. (2015). Internal Corporate Venture Operations Independence and Performance: A Knowledge-Based Perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(4), 763-790.
Gielnik, M.M., Barabas, S., Frese, M., Namatovu-Dawa, R.,...
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