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Danica Patrick on investing in pet care startup Petfolk

August 28, 2022, 11:00 AM UTC
Danica Patrick on investing on Petfolk.
Roy Rochlin—Getty Images

Since the start of the pandemic, the health care industry has seen a drastic shortage in skilled professionals. And while a lot of the focus has been on doctors and nurses, there is an increasing shortage of veterinarians as well, and that shortage is expected to worsen over the next decade.

Petfolk, previously One Vet, aims to stop the bleeding and reshape the pet care industry at large as a new kind of vet practice with a number of programs and services intended to relieve burnout among vets and foster healthier work environments for all. That includes removing non-competes and performance-based pay for veterinarians, pay equity, and flexible hours.

The company recently raised $40 million in a Series A round led by White Star Capital and Michael Wystrach, founder of Freshly. Additional investors include a number of animal-loving celebrities, such as Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, and Danica Patrick.

Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel car racing, recently shared more with Fortune about her decision to invest in the company.

  • Startup: Petfolk
  • Location: Charlotte, N.C.
  • Year founded: 2019
  • Valuation: Declined to disclose
  • Investment level: Series A
  • Number of employees: 120
  • Other major investors: White Star Capital, Michael Wystrach, Triple Point Capital, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Midland’s Mark Wystrach and Cameron Duddy, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Ty Haney (founder of Outdoor Voices and TYB.XYZ), Trina Spear and Heather Hasson (cofounders of Figs Scrubs), Carter Comstock and Alberto Lopez Toledo (coounders of Freshly), Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran (cofounders of Beam), David Nolan and Kevin Glynn (cofounders of Butternut Box), Mayur Gupta (CMO of Krayken), Bob Davis (founder of Lycos), Jason Finger and Billy Libby (cofounders of Upper90), Mark Cushing (founder of Animal Policy Group), Chris Kelly (founder of Antelligence), Arthur Rubinfield (founder of Airvision), and Seth Waugh (CEO of PGA of America)
Dr. Audrey Wystrach, cofounder and co-CEO of Petfolk, at one of the pet care company’s North Carolina locations.
Courtesy of Petfolk

Why she invested, in her own words

I have two dogs, Ella and Dallas, so anything to do with pets intrigues me. It kind of passes you by, how fast they grow up, and any dog parent knows that quality care is the foundation for giving your pup a happy and healthy life. [Dr. Audrey Wystrach] and the Petfolk team really cater to them with a level of compassion and expertise that’s pretty difficult to find. It’s also made my life a lot easier.

As someone who travels often, I love the idea of being able to live anywhere with my pups and have their records readily available at different Petfolk locations. Their telehealth in-app option is also a lifesaver for any late night mishaps. 

From a business perspective, Petfolk is leveraging proprietary technology to make taking care of your pet seamless and easy, allowing the company to scale rapidly and cost effectively.  

On the consumer side, their pricing structure is transparent, which makes it easy for them to cut through the clutter as compared to standard veterinary offices. I keep factors like this in mind with most of the companies I work with. Beyond the personal passion, how does the business fit into the industry at large, are they doing innovative work, is it a service that many will find useful? Petfolk checks all of those boxes.

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.