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VitusVet gets investment from Nationwide Insurance

The strategic investment grows a partnership between the Canton-based health IT company and the pet insurance provider, and comes as VitusVet is continuing to expand its team.

Friendly text reminders from VitusVet. (Courtesy image)

Canton-based VitusVet, which built a health IT platform for vets, received investment from Nationwide Insurance as the company’s team continues to grow.

The strategic investment builds on a partnership that began between Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide and VitusVet in 2016, said VitusVet CEO Dr. Mark Olcott.

Among its many insurance offerings, Nationwide said it is the U.S.’s largest provider of pet insurance (which functions as health insurance for a pet). Through an initial partnership, Nationwide customers got access to tools that allow them to file claims through the VitusVet app. It’s a process that involves confirming pet information, adding claim information and reviewing the claim before it’s submitted. To date, more than 635,000 claims have been filed, per Nationwide.

“When Nationwide began our partnership with VitusVet, we saw the potential of how their groundbreaking technology could streamline the process of a customer submitting a pet insurance claim. We, and our members, have seen that potential realized during the past three years,” Peter McMurtrie, Nationwide’s senior VP of emerging businesses, said in a statement. “This investment will help VitusVet continue their work of finding new and exciting ways to improve the connection between pet owners and pet health care providers.”

VitusVet will look to continue product development and add new tech features, said Olcott. The company’s app is used by veterinary practices, who in turn provide access to pet owners. The app offers tools to help access a pet’s medical records, getting reminders about appointments and medication and communication via text.

With new features, “we’re evolving around the core idea of making it easier for pet owners and veterinarians to connect to each other,” Olcott said.  For the 25-year veterinarian, the mission of the company is focused around being advocates for pet health: “At the end of every reminder we send out or conversation via text we’re facilitating, there’s a pet that’s getting care — a pet that can’t speak for themselves,” he said.

The company, which moved to Baltimore city from Columbia earlier this year, is also growing the team. On the leadership side, VitusVet recently hired Heather Fields as VP of marketing. A frequent mentor in Baltimore’s tech community, she formerly worked in that role at OrderUp, the Canton food delivery startup that was acquired by Groupon, as well as Bill Me Later and PayPal. It follows VitusVet COO Jason Kwicien, a cofounder of OrderUp, joining the team earlier this year. There’s also a current opening for a DevOps engineer, and Olcott said the company will continue hiring in technical roles for the remainder of 2019.

The amount of the investment from Nationwide was not disclosed, and is not part of Nationwide’s venture capital fund, the companies said.

Companies: VitusVet
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