Tell us about your startup, Vetted, which won third place and the People’s Choice Award in the 2021 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.
I grew up with dogs, and then in 2020 my husband got me a French bulldog for my birthday—the best gift ever. But I was really disappointed with my experiences in the pet health space. I never had more than 10 or 15 minutes with the vet, and then I wouldn't know what to do at home. It wasn’t a full, comprehensive resource.
At Booth, I met Ashley Brooks, my co-founder, who shares my passion for revolutionizing pet care and what we call pet parenthood. It’s not the annual visit with the vet that’s going to determine your pet’s health—it’s about what you’re doing in the home. And nobody empowers caregivers with education, tools, support, and community. We decided to found Vetted to provide all of those things.
How does Vetted work?
It’s an annual membership focused on preventative health for pets. Members receive curated kits that are made by a council of vets who find the best, most innovative products on the market today. It’s all connected to a mobile app that pings you with reminders to clean your pet’s ears or brush their teeth, then connects you to content about how to do those things and why they’re important. We also have a chat function that connects you with a vet technician, a vet student, or a vet. We’re not trying to diagnose conditions or replace your vet. What we want to do is guide and advise you on day-to-day issues.
Where does the business stand now?
We raised about a quarter of a million dollars through the New Venture Challenge, and then over the summer we did a fundraising round that raised one and a half million. We ran a beta test with 30 or 40 customers who provided feedback, and then we officially launched on February 7.
How does your military experience inform your work as an entrepreneur?
In the military, I was leading units of 1,000 men when I was only 18. That was a crazy level of responsibility to put on me, but it was also super empowering. Now I don’t feel intimidated to lead large groups or to be the only woman in the room. And trust me—pitching to VC firms, it’s all men. As a person from the military, I feel extremely comfortable.