Vets on Call success journey
Online pet care business Vets on Call launched in May 2018 with a beta version of their pet-care app and a vision to become the number #1 pet care giver in the country. Two years later they are well on their way to achieving that vision.
Morgan Coleman, CEO and Founder of Vets on Call, has made it his mission to transform the pet care industry and re-engineer customer behaviour when seeking care for pet animals.
Morgan discusses the daunting task of seeking to change a stubbornly traditional industry and the experiences common to entrepreneurs from imposter syndrome to second, triple and quadruple gut checks.
“After we launched Vets on Call, it was our aim to innovate an experience where vets could visit pets at home to provide care, rather than the industry norm of taking pets to vets.” says Morgan. “Initially we thought our model was all about disrupting that behaviour in order to deliver convenience, but we quickly realised that what customers wanted wasn’t necessarily convenience but about accessing the ultimate in care and service.
“So, we set about using our first 12 months to gather data – from customers and veterinarians. We wanted to confirm our belief that customers could and would seek out pet care through a non-traditional channel and above all, that through our app they would be provided with the exceptional service and care that they wanted for their pets.
“I also needed to convince myself that we were really on to something, that I wasn’t completed crazy and that we could prove our vision in market” Morgan laughs.
Following that period, they built the current version of app, which went live in October 2019. The app was well received and the changes and modifications they made based on their research and data have significantly propelled the business forward.
“Over the last 12 months we’ve seen an incredible upward trajectory” says Morgan. “We’ve seen our average revenue per booking go from $115 per booking when we launched, to now sit at an average of $330 per booking. Since February 2020, we’ve tripled our average revenue per week, and we’ve tripled our average number of bookings per week”.
Most entrepreneurs would be well satisfied with such results – but Morgan goes on to say that this isn’t what delivers him the most satisfaction.
“Actually, what made me most happy personally was to see the number of repeat customers growing” says Morgan. “There’s a growing trend of customers coming back to us within 6 months which is huge. Pet owners typically only access pet care services twice a year, so for us to see repeat customers tracking to the same pattern has really validated our model – and also validated that we are delivering a quality service. We don’t just want to be a pet care aggregator; we aspire to be the pet care industry’s primary care provider. We want to delight our customers with exceptional service”.
Morgan is open about his experiences as a young Indigenous man, growing up in Bendigo and the lack of inspiration, he felt within the business community.
“Growing up in Australia I actually felt a bit lost, because I wasn’t very good at football” Morgan says, “and the sports I was good at, I knew I couldn’t make much money from!” he laughs.
Morgan identifies experiences that are common amongst young Indigenous Australians and advocates for the path of entrepreneurship to be made more visible so other First Nations’ youth can seek new inspiration toward building a self-sustaining future.
“I love what I do. I love working with animals. But most importantly I love that we’re helping to bring about change in our community” says Morgan. “When I was growing up the world seemed to be telling me that I wasn’t capable of much… often today I still get told that I’m really ‘articulate’. The expectations we have of ourselves as a community can be quite low”.
Morgan hopes Vets on Call can continue to demonstrate that business and entrepreneurship can offer a credible pathway to success that is accessible to Indigenous Australians.
First Australians Capital and Vets on Call started working together only a matter of weeks ago, with First Australians Capital taking out a loan in the form of a convertible note in the early-stage business. Morgan talks about the importance of the partnership, not just in terms of capital and the expansive suite of wrap-around services and support First Australians Capital provides, but in his view that through their investment in Vets on Call, they are in turn helping other Indigenous businesses succeed.
“In a way we’re paying it forward – the more Vets on Call succeeds, the more First Australians Capital succeeds and the more they can contribute toward growing other Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs” says Morgan. “Many of my non-Indigenous friends started businesses and they would easily raise their first round of capital through their own immediate friends and family network. Indigenous Australians often just don’t have the same opportunities. To ask for more than $5000 would generally be laughed off” he says.
Morgan identifies with the common realities many Indigenous Australians face when considering starting a business and the systemic and historical barriers that exist. He strongly aligns with First Australians Capitals mission to break down those barriers and hopes that Vets on Call will serve as an inspiration to other Indigenous Australians of what is truly possible.
“The most empowering feeling for me as an Indigenous entrepreneur is that I am responsible for creating a better life for myself and my family” says Morgan. “I feel completely empowered in the trajectory of my own life”.
Visibility lies at the heart of changing the narrative of the Indigenous economy.
Jocelyn King, Executive Director of First Australians Capital says it succinctly: “You can’t be what you can’t see. Establishing innovative and successful businesses in every sector will be a critical factor in encouraging other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to draw on their unique perspectives and back themselves.”
Through their demonstrable success and sharing their experiences, Vets on Call is an incredible example – ensuring that Indigenous Australians can see that starting and growing their own businesses can be a reality for them.
First Australians Capital is proud to work with Vets on Call and the Indigenous business sector to grow and propel the First Nations’ economy.
If you or your business is seeking support, we invite you to get in touch with us.