My Startup: Joii app by Vet-AI, Leeds
Last month, Leeds VetTech startup Vet-AI secured £1m in investment to help combine artificial intelligence with pet care.
Joii is the app that the company will officially release in May, helping pet owners access healthcare more "affordably and conveniently."
Founders: Paul Hallet, Robert Dawson and Sarah Warren
We spoke to Paul to find out more about the company...
Why did you start Vet-AI?
I became aware of the increase in technology-based human healthcare providers, such as Push Doctor, and believed the principles behind the technology would also work for veterinary care. Many pet owners find vet costs too high and struggle to physically get to a vet practice - the business is first and foremost addressing these animal welfare issues. I teamed up with highly experienced veterinarians, Robert Dawson and Sarah Warren, to launch Vet-AI into a market worth £4.6 billion.
Tell us more about the software behind the app?
Joii is the first app from Vet-AI, launching in May this year. The first phase is offering remote consultations and triage where users get access to real vets and speak to them in real time. It will save them up to 60% on normal vet fees and offer access to 70% of the normal services.
It uses complex algorithms which will learn to make a better diagnosis. This, coupled with the AI technology due to be rolled out next year, will mean pet owners can access immediate care for their animals and hopefully stop the dangerous practice of Googling symptoms and self-diagnosis. The app will either advise owners to take the pet to a vet straight away or initiate a video consultation with one of our vets. Then, if the animal needs a product to solve the issue, that’s all arranged through our system. The animal is given a checkup in the following weeks, just as a normal vet would offer, except in our case this will be free.
Where’s the business at right now?
We were so proud to be included in this year's Tech Nation Rising Stars top ten tech startups after competing against hundreds of other impressive businesses. We're also shortlisted in a number of other awards in the next few months and gaining national and worldwide media attention for our story so far.
We’ve built a solid customer base pre-launch through running a two-week pilot competition on Facebook to find a cat and dog who will be the face of our brand. It resulted in 3,600 entries, all of whom will get access to Joii.
Vet-AI has a number of exciting channel partnerships, one of which is the PDSA, demonstrating that we don’t just talk about animal welfare, we've already implemented what’s needed to make a real difference!
The £1million invested to date has given us a boost to get going. We’re now seeking regional investors to help take the business global.
What are your aims for the next year?
Growth and traction. There is a strong supply need pre-launch, so over the next 12 months, we’ll work on building customer loyalty. We’d like to take the app to the places around the world that need it the most, but we’ll start outside of the UK with America and Australia to expand.
There is a huge demand for more affordable care in light of evidence showing increased animal welfare issues. We need the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Services) to support this and allow us to prescribe medication online.
Why should people start using Joii?
Our app is convenient. It also costs less for the same outcome that you’d receive at a traditional vet. It reduces the cost of animal care for those who need the support the most and we’ll donate a percentage of our profits to charity. On the technology side, it’s going to give us an opportunity to understand more about pet ownership through the data we gather.
Vet-AI is a totally unique research and development business that will help predict and prevent illnesses in pets, without the need for a subscription-based model. It also improves working conditions for vets, offering them flexible work from any location - there are so many who are leaving the profession due to stress.
How much will it cost users? and why is it worth the investment?
Joii is free to use and offers a 60% saving on traditional vet costs. It’s common for there to be a 300% mark up on products sold through vets, and this is something we want to change to give affordable choices to pet owners long term. Our ultimate aim is for no animal to go without proper veterinary care due to cost or location.