Silicon Valley has been laser-focused on digitizing health care, be it through a credit card-sized heart monitor or an AI-powered gut test. But what about our four-legged friends? According to Piavita, today’s veterinary practices are outdated, expensive, and time-consuming. So Piavita’s team created a palm-sized monitoring device, which is currently being used on horses to track their vitals. The Zurich, Switzerland-based startup announced today that it has secured $5.5 million in funding in a round led by True Ventures. Fyrfly Venture Partners, Zurich Bank ZKB, and several private investors also joined.
The wireless device is plugged into a mounting unit that is wrapped around the horse’s body, which allows for high-precision measurements of vital signs through the animal’s coat (or hair), according to Piavita cofounder and CEO, Dr. Dorina Thiess. The data is then transferred to the Piavita web-based app so veterinarians can track and monitor the health of the animal.
“This means we not only save time for the veterinarian, but there is also no need to shave, prepare, or sedate the horse for in-depth health investigations,” wrote Thiess, in an email to VentureBeat. “Veterinarians can offer more services in the stables without the need to transport patients to the clinic. We bring all the benefits of digitization to the vet industry.”
Use cases include monitoring horses in the field, post-operative and intense care monitoring, night supervision, and more.
For now, Piavita sells a Vet System package for about $7,000 that includes an installation fee, two monitoring devices, and the first year of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription fee.
Thiess says her team has installed more than 200 systems in over 80 clinics and practices across Germany and Switzerland. She expects to have 2,000 systems installed by the end of the year in countries that include Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and the U.K. Piavita will be opening an office in Berlin within the next few months.
Entry in the U.S. market will come at a later date, but Thiess doesn’t anticipate any major roadblocks. “Seeing as our system is non-invasive and purely for use on animals, there are very low barriers to enter the U.S. market,” she wrote.
While Piavita sees potential applications for other animals, the startup is currently focused on horses and is looking to broaden its client base beyond veterinarians to include the breeding and sports industries.
“However, the core technologies work on any species and can be adapted to different settings and animals through software and algorithm changes,” Thiess wrote.
Piavita participated in Swissnex’s first Swiss Startup Summit in San Francisco last March, coming in second place. To date, it has raised $6.5 million, and it plans to use the fresh injection of capital to scale production, expand to new markets, and grow its team of 20.